'Python Patrols' Hunt Down Snakes in Fla. Keys
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2009 8:08 PM CDT
An Albino Burmese Python slithers August 12, 2001 during the third annual Snake Day at the Miami Museum of Science in Miami, FL.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – So-called "python patrols" are scouring the Florida Keys for rogue snakes that gobble up endangered species, CNN reports. Conservation manager Alison Higgins started assembling the teams after pythons, some 20 feet long, were found eating birds, bobcats, and even alligators. The snakes are often released by pet owners in Everglades National Park, where an estimated 30,000 pythons live and breed.

The trick is catching the ones who stray. "There's no immutable laws of snake catching," one expert said. "It's what works." Professionals who work outdoors, like police and park rangers, take a 3-hour class to learn snake-snatching techniques with blankets, bags, and hooks. "We're doing it in the Florida Keys because we have a lot to protect," said Higgins.