(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.
1️⃣0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣➕ 🐍— South Florida Water Management District (@SFWMD) May 21, 2018
Brian Hargrove caught the 1,000th Burmese python as part of SFWMD’s Python Elimination Program early Saturday morning. Hargrove has been the program’s most prolific hunter, eliminating more than 110 of the invasive snakes. pic.twitter.com/RMGnM0VSIq
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.
Since the inception of the Python Elimination Program by the South Florida Water Management District 1,000 pythons have been captured. This is the thousandth python and it measures in at a little more than 11 feet long, weighing in at 32 pounds!! pic.twitter.com/NrXWsKIet6— Sanela Sabovic (@SabovicSanela) May 22, 2018
"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."