MIAMI — A 19-year-old South Florida man captured 28 Burmese pythons throughout a 10-day competitors that was created to extend consciousness concerning the threats the invasive snakes pose to the state’s ecology.
Matthew Concepcion was among the many 1,000 individuals from 32 states, Canada and Latvia who participated within the annual problem, which eliminated 231 of the undesirable pythons, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Fee mentioned in a information launch.
For his efforts, Concepcion was awarded the $10,000 Final Grand Prize courtesy of the Bergeron Everglades Basis. Dustin Crum gained a $1,500 grand prize for eradicating the longest python, at simply over 11 ft.
Earlier this 12 months, a staff of biologists hauled within the heaviest Burmese python ever captured in Florida. That feminine python weighed in at 215 kilos, was practically 18 ft lengthy and had 122 growing eggs, in keeping with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
Burmese pythons aren’t protected besides by Florida’s anti-cruelty legislation, so individuals needed to doc that every one was killed humanely.
Concepcion advised the South Florida SunSentinel that he’s been searching pythons for about 5 years, and usually seems for them at evening as a result of that’s once they’re on the transfer, in search of the heat of roads. He makes use of his car lights to identify them.
This 12 months, nonetheless, he solely noticed one on the roads within the Everglades, so he modified methods.
“I labored a levee, caught a pair hatchings, and was like, ‘Dang, this could be the ticket!’ So each single evening from then on, I went on the market — simply earlier than sunset to sunup.”
Concepcion says he walked the canal, utilizing a flashlight to probe the underbrush. Smaller snakes are so nicely camouflaged that he seems for his or her shadows forged by the flashlight beam, he advised the newspaper. However bigger snakes are simpler to search out.
“They’ll have a barely purple tint to them. They’re actually stunning.”
Concepcion mentioned he could use a few of his earnings to purchase a robust lighting setup for his truck, which can assist him spot extra snakes.
“Our python hunters are captivated with what they do and care very a lot about Florida’s treasured atmosphere. We’re eradicating report numbers of pythons and we’re going to maintain at it,” South Florida Water Administration District Governing Board Member “Alligator Ron” Bergeron mentioned in a information launch.