Originally from the jungles and marshes of South East Asia, there is currently an estimated 100,000 Burmese Python in the Florida everglades. Burmese pythons have taken out nearly 98% of Florida’s mammals, but this team of women is fighting back.
- [Narrator] Florida's sunny climate means non-native residents thrive here.
(upbeat music) Perhaps the most destructive is the Burmese python.
Originally from the jungles and marshes of Southeast Asia (birds chirping) the Everglades is now estimated to be home to a staggering 100000 of these invasive reptiles.
(birds chirping) With few natural predators, these invaders are an almost unstoppable force.
(serious music) But people are fighting back.
(birds chirping) - [Donna] Burmese pythons came here in the 70's from the pet trade.
People didn't know what to do with them so they came out here and let them go.
- [Narrator] Licensed python hunting is now permitted in the Everglades year round.
- [Donna] They've been eating their way through the Everglades National Park.
Literally, 98% of the mammals have been eaten by these Burmese pythons.
They're eating deer, they're eating alligators.
We brought them here, we need to take them out.
And that's what I'm here to do.
- [Narrator] Paid contractors patrol the levees around the Everglades day and night.
(serious music) (bugs chirping) The female snakes can lay over 100 eggs a year.
And grow to be more than 18 feet long.
- [Female Assistant] Stop!
Stop for a second.
(serious music) (bugs chirping) - [Donna] Grabbing a big constrictor like that is an experience.
You definitely have to go in and grab it with both hands.
Make sure you know what you're doing.
You don't want it to wrap around your neck.
Because it can kill you.
(bugs chirping) - [Narrator] In the first two years of the removal program 25 teams took out almost 2000 adult snakes.
But there's much more to be done.
- [Donna] The war that we're fighting is bigger than the battle that we're winning.
You're not doing your pet a favor by letting them go.
You think, you know, 'Here be free, have fun.'
It doesn't work that way.
- [Narrator] Once captured, the pythons have to be humanely destroyed.
(bugs chirping) (serious music)