Hunt under way for Burmese pythons in the Everglades

BayNews9January 15, 2013 

Among hundreds of hunters in the Everglades trying to track down Burmese pythons during a 30-day hunt were a group from Bradenton.

The pythons eat everything from small animals, like birds and mammals, up to alligators and deer.

"So they're really devastating our population of native wildlife in southern Florida and it's very important to remove them from the wild," said Damen Hurd of Wildlife Inc.

Hurd, who has a permit to capture pythons, brought one of the three they caught back to Mixon Fruit Farms with him.

The other two went back alive with Capt. Jeff Fobb from Venom One, a show on Animal Planet.

The hunting ends at midnight Feb. 10.

There are an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 of these snakes living in the Everglades, Hurd said.

"As a wildlife rehabilitator and rescuer it's not really our goal to kill animals. We save wildlife, though it's an invasive species. I do understand the need to kill and remove them down in Everglades, It just wasn't something I was interested in doing," Hurd said.

Participants in the hunt are required by the state to register and participate in training.

Greg Herbert of Bradenton accompanied the party in its search for pythons.

Although Herbert did not claim a python find, he said removal of the invasive species from the Everglades is important to reduce the damage to native wildlife.

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