How To Catch A Python

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - 11:11am

Florida emergency workers are being trained to fight the python invasion.

Scientists say pythons are multiplying at an alarming rate in the Everglades.

Now one Florida organization is trying to tackle the problem before it gets out of hand.

Wildlife experts like Lily Mlezko are being trained to catch them when spotted.

"They're moving more and more to the west coast and it's going to be a real issue that we're dealing with. I think it's all hands on deck," Mlezko said.

She is one of 12 being trained to catch the powerful predators.

She and 175 people all over the southern half of the state are part of the Python Patrol.

It's part of a multi-agency effort among wildlife experts to be ready when more python sightings sneak up.

Cheryl Millett trains people how to catch them.

"We want to teach people safely and humanely how to catch a Burmese python," she says.

Leading this effort is CISMA, short for Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area.

They track invasive species like pythons.

This training, according to one of their Southwest Florida representatives, is part of their overall goal to plan out how to deal with these snakes over the next five years.

"We were talking about the pythons because that is sort of enemy number one here in southwest Florida," CISMA's Mike Knight said.

Their plans include having a response team in place to handle python emergencies.

Long term, they would like to get EMS workers trained too, since they expect pythons to be a problem here to stay.

"They're established very well in the Everglades. They're expanding their range and we're kind of on the battle line of that expanding front," Knight said.

So far, there's no count of how many are in the Everglades, but the group hopes to find that out.

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