Photo courtesy of Edward Mercer
The Burmese Python Removal Program is not a hunting program or a recreational program; rather it is a management tool that allows people to remove Burmese pythons and other nonnative reptiles from state lands. While the primary focus of the program has historically been Burmese pythons, the intent of the program is to allow properly trained and permitted people to remove all invasive exotic reptiles that are encountered during collection trips. The objective of the program is to collect data on the locations of Burmese pythons and other invasive reptiles, as well as information on the effort spent searching for these reptiles, and to remove the species from the environment.
Burmese Python Removal permits have previously allowed access to both Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and properties managed by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). However, FWC is working with SFWMD to address program improvements and enhancements, and permits that include SFWMD properties are currently not being issued.
Qualified applicants may apply for an interim permit that allows for removal of Burmese pythons and other conditional reptiles from three WMAs: Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA, Holey Land WMA, and Rotenberger WMA.This permit does not allow access to properties managed by the South Florida Water Management District.
Permit holders must turn in all captured pythons, but can request to have the carcass returned to them. They can sell the hide and meat, thus providing a type of compensation (note: Burmese pythons from Everglades National Park have been found to have very high levels of mercury and may not be recommended for human consumption).
All nonnative reptiles, including conditional reptiles may be taken under this permit. The snakes can be captured by hand or by using hand held equipment (snake tongs, snake hooks, etc.). Pythons may be euthanized onsite by legal and humane methods, or dropped off live at a site designated by FWC.
Burmese Python Removal permits also allow for the live transport of conditional reptiles. This option is for Python Patrol responders, CISMA (Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area) cooperators, nuisance trappers and government employees that need to transport conditional reptiles as part of their job duties.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Photograph and mark GPS locations of captured snakes
- Photograph and mark GPS locations of reptile eggs observed
- Record GPS track log of each collecting trip
- Call FWC dispatch upon beginning each collecting trip
- Email all trip reports to FWC within 36 hours
- Call FWC to arrange a time to drop off captured pythons at a designated location within 24 hours of capture