Meet the women hunting giant pythons ‘eating everything’ in the Everglades
This story has been updated from an earlier version.
Wearing dark sunglasses and carrying binoculars, two women on her lunch break walk through a rainforest along the Gulf Coast. They are watching a woman in a black dress that runs down the back of her legs and her arm, which is wrapped around a large python that’s a foot or so long.
“It’s pretty big,” says one of the women, who says she is called Maria. “We tried to get closer but she scared us away,” she continues.
As they walk closer, it’s hard to miss the python’s girth.
A small crowd has assembled to watch the incident unfold. The snake hangs in the air with its head down. Its eyes have been closed with a piece of cloth around its neck.
When it comes closer, the women say, they can see it “eats everything it can reach”: people, lizards, even a small bird.
“It just looked at us. And then it moved on.”
“The python’s head is facing the other way,” says Maria, who added she is a biologist and works at the St. Augustine National Wildlife Refuge. “It was like a little baby, like this just started moving around.”
With the snake perched in its head, she estimates that the python weighed 30 pounds and was 3 1/2 feet long.
The women, who have called themselves the “museums of Everglades and Snakes,” are part of a new conservation movement that aims to save the large and mysterious creatures that live at the intersection of the Everglades and Bay.
The Everglades is a natural preserve that includes alligators, snakes and crocodiles. The two organizations behind the movement — the Everglades Institute and Snakes of Bay, a nonprofit that works to identify and protect snakes in the Everglades — are working to find a way to protect and conserve these elusive species.
The python is a great first step for the movement. Snakes of Bay, which