25 professional snake hunters to target Burmese pythons in Miami-Dade County

Pilot project to be introduced Thursday by South Florida Water Management

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The South Florida Water Management District is joining the fight to combat the invasive Burmese python population.

One of the biggest problems plaguing the Florida Everglades is the invasive species of snake. Released by uninterested pet owners, they have multiplied quickly.

That’s why the Water Management District is presenting a program Thursday to try and deal with the population explosion.

"They are literally eating their way through the Everglades of our native wildlife," conservation biologist and reptile expert Joe Wasilewski said.

Wasilewski knows a thing or two about snakes -- particularly Burmese pythons. He has worked closely with the state to try and control the invasive species for a decade.

"I have removed myself over 100," he said.    

Now the Water Management District wants to launch a $175,000 pilot project to hunt the snakes down. The two-month hunt would include 25 paid snake hunters scouring the district's land in Miami-Dade County, where the snakes are most prevalent.

This would be very different than the python challenge, which puts a bounty on the snakes. These hunters would not be amateurs, but trained snake hunters who are paid to capture and remove the reptiles.