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'Rival gangs:' Alligators face a snaky threat in the Florida Everglades

'Rival gangs:' Alligators are facing a snaky threat in the Florida Everglades

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By WPEC

(West Palm Beach, Florida) -- Florida alligators are squaring off against a foreign enemy.

The python is threatening the way of life in the Florida Everglades with a creature clash some say is becoming a crisis. The snakes were brought to Florida in the early 2000s as pets, but eventually made their way into the wild and are now killing off the native alligator population in higher levels every year. Though nonvenomous, pythons are physically powerful and can strangle and bite gators until they're killed.

It's reached a point where Florida itself is having to fight back.

With the Python Elimination Program, citizens are being awarded money to hunt down and eliminate the ambush predators. Though the fight against the growing snake population may seem like an uphill battle, one python hunter, Leo Sanchez, said he doesn't believe the gators will easily succumb.

"I’ve caught plenty of pythons with gator bites on their bodies and their tails being stubbed tails that the gator hit with a bite," Sanchez said. "... Remember, me personally, if I’m fighting for my life I’m gonna give you everything I’ve got, gators going to do the same."

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