This topic has emerged in other threads, I thought I would start a Python thread.
I'll start off by asking these questions:
What threat level do these preditors pose to campers in ENP? We are potentially on their menu, what precautions should we be taking?
i don't know how big of a threat they really are, but this is like with the crocs (though the crocs belong there)... i think part of the reason no one has had a problem yet is that they don't interact that much. the more we interact, i feel like a problem is inevitable. i caught a 14' burmese two years ago, and my friend has a 22' shed from one... so, both obviously big enough of a creature to take a grown person down, if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. i don't know what you could do as far as precautions, i feel like if you're in the wrong place wrong time and they want to grab you, they're going to. i try to not bushwhack alone, and i bring my machete, though i feel like that won't help.
No idea. But I don't own a machete and have camped in ENP 10 days a year in the backcountry for the last six years. And have not yet seen a python..
When they run out of smaller food they might become more visible in campsites.
hey kim, yeah you could camp for 100 years without needing a machete. i wasn't suggesting that, like i said, if a huge predator wants to grab you, you'd probably just drop the knife and get crushed. but i have seen lots of snakes both big and small in my travels thru s florida... i love them, it's just the pythons don't belong there. i will also say, the part of the park with all the chickees and big water is not where i have seen the pythons...
The OP was asking what to me is the usual bear question.. I suppose my bear spray would be ineffective on pythons. I agree that the BP does not belong.
I looked at bringing a machete a few years ago when I started freaking out thinking I would be paddling along and one would drop down into my canoe from a tree while I was in a creek. Yes, imaginations run wild when one is ignorant on the behaviour of pythons.
So I was at the hardware store in Everglades City looking at all the fancy knives they sell. I ended up with a folding knife that rides close to my throat on my PFD. If that python does fall into the canoe and grabs a hold of me, I'll stab it, etc and so forth. If that does not work, I will slit my throat for a quick end :-(
Seriously, how do these pythons attack and would the creek scenario be a possibility.......
Machete: I am so clumsy I am afraid I'll cut one of my limbs off using a sharp one.
haha, i thought the same thing about slitting my own throat to save me from a python when my brother gifted me with the machete (he calls it "the skunk ape knife", but that's another post, entirely).
i would not be that worried in creeks (i don't worry about any of these critters, to be honest)... but i do tramp down some trails that are classic snake ambush stuff (vegetation up to your hip, overhanging trees, no vis). so, it was on my mind a little bit a few years ago after seeing some of them out and about.
I would agree that they are not much of a threat but as was stated they have proven capable of squeezing the life out of large mammals. I hear they are not smart enough to realize they cant swallow it. My main concern is when Im waist deep in swamp. I have been hiking the Glades for 40 years and its probably safe to say that alligators, mocassins, rattlesnakes and now cougars are more of a concern but I still get shaky in waist deep water or hiking at night because I dont know what to expect from Pythons.
The Everglades has always been a dangerous place for someone that is unprepared. The Python doesnt change anything, just another thing to worry about. I could go on and on but Ill give others a chance to post. Fot those that are really concerned, Bob Hill recommends alcohol. Pour alcohol on the head or inside the mouth and the snake will release. Also remember to uncoil a large constrictor starting from the tail.
Like was said, the part of the park with all the chickees and big water is not where you are likely to encounter a large Python but we will wait and see. Nobody know what the future will bring.
Quote:" Pour alcohol on the head or inside the mouth and the snake will release."
Now we're getting some place! A small bottle of "Jack" is alot easier to carry than a Machete. Hopefully the alcohol doesn't put the snake into an amorous mood =p
Hiking I can totally see the risk..I watched a group of fifth graders with parents start off under a Ranger led hike..everyone had their pole to probe for limestone potholes.. wonder how the pole would help with a python.
The maps I have seen seem to indicate most sightings are near roads in the grassy areas. However maps are misleading..Pythons don't need pavement to access the park and I suppose the statistics skewed.
Does anyone really know how many there are! And I am not wasting tequila on a snake. I think I would have a hard time getting to the tequila if a snake were coiled round me. Thanks for uncurling instructions.
Its nice to see another midwinter thread on animal terrors. I am getting sick of bears.
I understand trying to find your half pint and open the top while being constricted lol. I would have preferred to use my knife but Bob told me I would just cut myself. I thought he meant rubbing alcohol but I would imagine whiskey would work. Ill have to ask him next time I see him. Bob Hill has over 600 documented kills, way more than anybody else, so I think he would know what hes talking about.
As far as the fifth graders,. I think its great teaching kids about the swamp. The Everglades is a dangerous place and the best defense is not a pole or machete but being observant at all times while in the woods and remaining calm and cool headed in an emergency..
i agree with dale 100% in all regards. the only two things i would add are, the snakes move around wildly when you're trying to "dispatch" them... so it might be hard getting the alcohol where you need it. the other thing is, unfortunately, they seem to be really happy at home anywhere in the park. a buddy of mine just photographed one in the middle of florida bay (!), and i heard a fly-over saw one in a lake i like to fish, where i thought they weren't too keen on swimming... apparently, they are. oh well. i'm back to the slitting my own throat method, but now with a few shots of booze to lessen the pain!
Another point to add is they get very lethargic in cold weather.
As far as swimming, they seem to prefer swimming underwater even though they can swim on the surface as well. I dont know how long they can hold their breathe and they will come up to periscope.