Python Permit Program Frequently Asked Questions

The Burmese Python Removal Program is a permit program that allows qualified applicants to capture Burmese pythons, other conditional reptiles, and tegus on three Wildlife Management Areas  (Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA, Holey Land WMA, Rotenberger WMA) and several properties managed by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)in South Florida. Currently permits are not being issued that include properties managed by SFWMD, but people can apply for an interim permit that only includes the WMAs.

Why did the FWC institute a permit program to search for Burmese pythons?

This nonnative species to Florida has spread throughout the Everglades.  Except for alligators and crocodiles, adult Burmese pythons have no predators in Florida. Pythons have consumed a wide variety of native and nonnative wildlife, and they have the capacity to adversely impact vulnerable species, such as the Key Largo woodrat and other listed species.  The FWC manages lands for wildlife on the python's northern-most range and offers permit holders the opportunity to search for and remove Burmese pythons to bring valuable data to scientists and assist in managing the species in Florida.

Who is eligible to participate in the program?

Applicants must have a digital camera and a GPS unit. Applicants must have experience capturing wild Burmese pythons and must take the online REDDy training, available at http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/REDDy/getreddy.shtml.

Does the Burmese Python Removal permit allow for hunting pythons?

The Burmese Python Removal Program is not a hunting program; rather it is a management tool that aims to collect data on the locations of Burmese pythons and the effort spent searching for these reptiles, and to have these animals removed from the environment.  FWC allows licensed hunters to harvest pythons on 4 Wildlife Management Areas: Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA, Rotenberger WMA, Holey Land WMA, and Big Cypress WMA during any established hunting season on those areas.  Hunters must have a valid hunting license and WMA permit, and adhere to the regulations for each WMA.

Can permit holders search for pythons during the regular hunting season?

Permits are issued beginning in January each year.  All permits issued will expire on December 31 each year.

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Does the permit allow the take of other reptiles?

All conditional reptiles may be collected under this permit, which includes the Burmese or Indian python, reticulated python, northern African python, southern African python, amethystine python, scrub python, green anaconda and Nile monitor lizard.  Tegus may also be taken under this permit.

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Where can the permit holders search for the Burmese python?

Authorized locations to search for and remove pythons under a Burmese Python Removal permit are Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA, Holey Land WMA, and Rotenberger WMA.  Authorized areas are listed on each permit. 

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Is this a bounty program?

This program will allow those with the permit to search for and remove pythons. Permit holders may sell the hide and meat (note: Burmese pythons from Everglades National Park have been found to have very high levels of mercury and may not be recommended for human consumption).  The FWC will not pay the permit holders for the pythons, but selling the skins and/or meat allows for a type of “bounty.”

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What are the requirements for capture?

The snakes can be captured by hand or with hand held equipment such as snake tongs or snake hooks.  Legal firearms may be used during hunting seasons when allowed. Pythons may be euthanized onsite by legal and humane means or desposited alive at a drop off site that will be designated by FWC.

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What does the FWC hope to gain from instituting this program?

When permit holders capture a Burmese python they must report the GPS location and take a digital picture of the carcass. Permit holders must also submit GPS track logs of  all trips taken to capture pythons, regardless if any snakes were caught. Captured pythons are taken to the University of Florida Research and Education Center, where the gut contents will be analyzed.  FWC will use the data collected to help control and stop the spread of Burmese pythons in Florida. 

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Where can I find more information about the Burmese python?

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