A Florida resident spotted a 14-foot invasive Burmese python in the bushes between two homes — and that’s when deputies got involved, the sheriff’s office said.
Deputies responded to a neighborhood in East Naples, about 130 miles northwest of Miami, just after 9:30 p.m. Oct. 26, reports Facebook post from Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
Three deputies who had come from Jacksonville, about 335 miles northeast of Naples, to help with Hurricane Ian relief efforts caught the snake. One of them “humanely put” him to sleep, according to the report. Hurricane Ian slammed into southwest Florida in late September and caused widespread flooding and destruction.
In a photo posted on Facebook, three MPs posed holding a huge snake.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission they collected the carcass of the animal and disposed of it.
Burmese pythons are invasive in Florida and are known to eat “threatened species such as wood storks, Key Largo wood rats and limpkins,” which are tropical wetland birds, the report said. They also eat larger animals, including alligators, white-tailed deer, and bobcats.
There are Burmese pythons originally from Southeast Asia and were introduced into the Florida ecosystem when people who kept them as pets released them into the wild, according to the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Area.
They pose a threat to natural ecosystems in South Florida, and “their presence has led to a severe decline” in the mammal population in the Everglades, the agency said.
Every year in Florida is held a “Python call”, inviting hunters from around the world to capture and remove as many Burmese pythons as possible from South Florida.
This year a 19 year old from Palmetto Baywon the top prize of $10,000 after catching 28 pythons — more than the nearly 1,000 hunters who participated.