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Islander marks his seventh Burmese python hunt

By Staff | Jul 29, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Tom Uhler holds the python he captured — the 3,221st one caught through the program.

Sanibel resident Tom Uhler recently joined friend and licensed python hunter Geoff Roepstorff on the South Florida Water Management District’s Python Elimination Team for a late night python hunt.

Their efforts resulted in removing yet another invasive snake from the Everglades.

The hunt marked the seventh for Uhler. He had previously accompanied friends on earlier – also successful hunts – including SFWMD Chair Chauncey Goss, Steve Pontius and Roepstorff.

“This group of environmentally-sensitive friends is not only removing dangerous exotic species under our district python removal program,” SFWMD Project Manager Mike Kirkland said. “They’re also helping us get the word out about how significant the python threat has become for the Everglades.”

The invasive Burmese python has now officially become the apex predator in the Everglades, a position previously held by native Florida alligators within that ecosystem.

“Seven was my lucky number,” Uhler said. “I have enjoyed hunting pythons with my friends, doing our best to remove these dangerous invasive snakes from the fragile Everglades ecosystem.”

“We were about 10 hours into the hunt and at approximately 3:15 a.m. I spotted this python out in the water,” he continued. “We were able to grab the python in the water as it was trying to get away. At just over 8 feet it was slightly under the 9-foot average for pythons found in the Everglades. As it turns out, it was number 3,221 for the SFWMD team of hunters.”