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"It's a big deal:" Charlotte Co. has pythons, but you can do something about it

Surprisingly, 25 Burmese pythons have been found in Charlotte County since 2015. But an established population of pythons so far from the Everglades has invasive species scientists very concerned.
Posted at 9:19 PM, Apr 04, 2024

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — It's something you wouldn't expect right away.

Charlotte County is a good distance from the Everglades. Sure, it has alligators and tropical birds, even our share of wild boars, but one might think it's not a really a place for Burmese pythons.

Think again. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), 25 Burmese pythons have been spotted in Charlotte County since 2015. And just last year, four juvenile male pythons were found in the county, which prompted more attention from FWC staff.

But it's not like they slithered there on their own. It's an established population, and FWC Invasive Species Program Coordinator McKayla Spencer told Charlotte County's Community Correspondent Alex Orenczuk that this is not good news. "All indications of observed data don’t show it's a natural migration. So, it could have very well possibly started from some individuals being accidentally or intentionally released from captivity,” Spencer said.

The python was first found in the state in 1979 and in the last 40+ years it has devastated Florida's native fauna.

“It's a big deal,” said Spencer. “What we are seeing in the Everglades and the reduction in mammals we are seeing are directly linked to the Burmese python, they are also eating native reptiles, birds, endangered species and threatened species in the Everglades.”

If you live in Charlotte County, here's what FWC is asking you to do: take a picture and report it, either by phone at 888-483-4681 or online by clicking here.

“We have a high interest in this to try and find out where they are, where they came from and to try and eradicate them,” said Tom Reinert, Regional Director of FWC.

Also, in case some of you out there were wondering... it is legal tokill Burmese pythons if you come across one, but it must be done in a humane manner.