Python Bowl 2020: Burmese python caught on Marco Island
A 6-foot Burmese python was caught Monday by the entrance of Stevens' Landing on Marco Island.
Bobby Monroe, a licensed python contractor, caught the snake after local authorities were called.
"When I lifted a layer of vegetation that's when I saw its head and grabbed it," Monroe said. "I almost stepped on it."
"I didn't think I was going to get it."
Coincidentally, Monroe was driving on San Marco Rd., headed to the Everglades for the Python Bowl when he got the call about the snake.
The Florida Python Challenge is a 10-day event that began Friday in which veteran hunters and novice snake surveyors head into the field to capture as many pythons as possible.
"The intent of the Florida Python Challenge [...] is to bring continued awareness to invasive species issues in South Florida and engage the public in participating in Everglades conservation through invasive species removal," state wildlife commission spokeswoman Carli Segelson wrote in an email.
Monroe said he has been catching snakes since he was 6-years-old.
"My best friend's sister would just drop us off in the Everglades with pillow cases," Monroe said.
Monroe said initiatives like the Florida Python Challenge are important to control the population of invasive species.
"If there's one there's gonna be more," Monroe said. "Before you know it they are going to be on Residents' Beach."
Additional reporting by Karl Schneider.