MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Florida is now using trained dogs to sniff out troublesome pythons, and Truman the python-hunting black Labrador retriever recently tracked down his first snake as part of a new Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission program.
Truman and another dog named Eleanor are trained to detect a python’s scent and alert handlers when they’ve come across one.
The first success was last week when Truman found an 8-foot Burmese python in the Rocky Glades Public Small Game Hunting Area in Miami-Dade County.
“Truman and Eleanor spent over a month training to be a part of the FWC detector dog team, learning to search for pythons using scent signals and to alert dog handlers when they find one of these large constrictors,” the wildlife commission wrote on its website. “Python-scented towels and live pythons with surgically implanted trackers were used to train the dogs on python scent. The dogs were also trained to ignore distractions, such as other live animals, when working in an outdoor environment and worked on building up their stamina so they do not tire easily in the field.”
The pythons have become a threat to the fragile ecosystem in the Florida Everglades as they devour native mammals and birds.