The Florida Everglades are being invaded by a slithering menace. Hundreds of thousands of non-native pythons now threaten this critical habitat, devouring mammals, birds and even small alligators.
State wildlife officials have been trying to eliminate the pythons for years, seemingly stifled by the fact that the snakes have no natural predators. No other animal has the instincts to hunt down these pythons.
According to the Associated Press, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has two new talented python trackers on its team, Truman and Eleanor.
They’re both dogs, and both experts at finding pythons using their sensitive senses of smell.
Truman first impressed his handlers when he found an 8-foot Burmese python in the Rocky Glades Public Small Game Hunting Area in Miami-Dade County.
“We’ve got to stay innovative. We’ve got to try new approaches and the detector dogs is just one area where we’re doing that,” commission Executive Director Eric Sutton told commissioners in a virtual meeting.
Sutton showed the commissioners pictures of Truman and Eleanor in action, and one of Truman with his 8-foot specimen.
“They’re hard workers, commissioners. They really are very dedicated and you can see that they’re very proud and they should be,” Sutton said.
It takes about a month to train the dogs to identify the pythons’ specific scent. The dogs are also trained to keep a safe distance from the pythons–at least 3 feet. A reptile capable of eating small deer could make short work of a canine. Thankfully, Truman and Eleanor know what they’re doing. And with an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 pythons in the Everglades, it’s a good thing they do.
Learn more in the video below.
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