World-Famous Snake Catchers, Irula Tribesmen Help Officials In Florida Catch Pythons

By  //  January 25, 2017

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The Irula tribe are world-renowned snake catchers from India, and Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are hoping they can pass their skills on to snake catchers here in Florida. (FWC Image)

FLORIDA – There are two new efforts underway to remove non-native pythons in Florida.

The Irula tribe are world-renowned snake catchers from India, and Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are hoping they can pass their skills on to snake catchers here in Florida.

In their first eight days on the job, they removed 13 snakes.

Detector dogs, specially trained by Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, have begun sniffing out snakes in south Florida as part of another python removal effort.

They are helping FWC biologists, University of Florida and Irula tribesmen by identifying areas where pythons are hiding in environmentally sensitive locations.

Two tribesmen and two translators arrived in early January and will stay in South Florida through February.

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FWC officials say they will continue to work with UF and other partners on additional projects aimed at removing pythons and other non-native species from Florida.

The FWC is funding the $68,888 project.

“It is outstanding that they have been able to remove pythons from Key Largo,” said UF/IFAS wildlife biologist, Frank Mazzotti t, speaking to the Palm Beach Post.

“And to get four pythons, including a 16-foot female, is just incredible.”

You can help with removal efforts by reporting python sightings to our Exotic Species Reporting Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681), online at IveGot1.org or by downloading the free “IveGot1” smartphone app.

Palm Beach Post Contributed To This Report

FWC will continue to work with UF, USFWS and other partners on additional projects aimed at removing pythons and other nonnative species from Florida. You can help with removal efforts by reporting python sightings to our Exotic Species Reporting Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681). (Photo by Jeremy Dixon)

Detection dogs, trained by Auburn University, use scent profiles of pythons to help target search areas, especially on sensitive public lands such as the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge on Key Largo. These efforts are aimed at protecting our precious natural resources such as the federally endangered Key Largo woodrat. (Photo by Jeremy Dixon)

The Irula tribesmen removed 13 snakes in their first eight days on the job. This one came from the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge on Key Largo. (Photo by Jeremy Dixon)

A second python removal effort involves detector dogs. These dogs are helping our biologists, University of Florida and Irula tribesmen by sniffing out areas where pythons are hiding in environmentally sensitive locations. (Photo by Alex Dyson)


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