Thursday, March 29, 2012

Giant Python Caught In Everglades

Two Forest Rangers Track Down Snake 

NAPLES, FL. -- A 15 ft. 3 in. Burmese Python was caught and killed by Naples, Florida Forest Service Rangers Jean Barnard Tarrete and Wilbur Chaney in Picayune State Forest.

The snake was captured on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 on Lynch Boulevard in the sprawling Florida State Forest area that once was subdivided into lots designed for a huge housing subdivision in Southwest Florida.

Reportedly, the Rangers went out to look for the snake after earlier hearing reports of its existence in the Picayune Forest.

Tarrete said he killed it with a rake commonly used in forest fires, hitting it in the head. Others Forest Rangers were less enthused with the manner of the capture.

(video: Tarrete Drags Python Into Truck)

Victor Hill of the Florida Department of Forestry said today, his local division "chose not to send out information about the capture because the python was poorly handled."

Hill says "Forest Rangers are trained to capture and kill pythons in a humane way. " Hill says as the video shows, "this was not the case." 

Hill says the ranger who appears on the video resigned recently, and apparently posted the video and provided the information to a Naples newspaper. His resignation was not related to the incident, and his last day at work was the day this capture occurred.

Hill added "Pythons are an aggressive, invasive species that threaten the health of the state forest and the Everglades. Our rangers work closely with officers from our partner agencies to monitor their numbers and take action when necessary in an appropriate manner. We appreciate the efforts of these rangers to capture and kill the python but we absolutely do not condone the way it was handled."

The U.S. Department of the Interior has banned the importation of pythons because they are a non-native species and a threat to native wildlife. Pythons in the Everglades seem to be the result of pet snake buyers abandoning them in the wild after the pythons grow too large and dangerous to keep in a home situation.

The state has condoned the killing of the pythons found in the Florida wilds but requires reports be made to the state authorities when they are captured and killed.

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