What do you except to see when you pop the hood of your car? Probably not a snake, and certainly not a 10-foot Burmese python.
Unfortunately for one Florida driver, that’s exactly what was under the hood of their Ford Mustang.
Officers from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission were called to Dania Beach after someone found the python under the hood of a blue Mustang. They were able to safely capture and remove it, says the agency.
The agency wrote on social media that removing the python was “a success for native wildlife since pythons prey on native birds, mammals and reptiles.”
Burmese pythons are native to Southeast Asia, but since the 1980s they have been found in the Everglades ecosystem. Female pythons can lay up to 100 eggs a year, and without a natural predator in the region, they are considered a damaging invasive species, reports History. They were first brought to the area as exotic pets, but because they can grow to such large sizes, pet owners started releasing them into the wild.
Because of this, there are no barriers for hunting them in the state of Florida. People are allowed to humanely kill them on private land with landowner permission, and the agency has even created a Python Action Team that “encourages hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreationists to…. remove invasive Burmese pythons in Florida,” according to its website. The agency provides free trainings throughout south Florida for interested parties.
The issue is so serious that there is also a prize incentive available for removing pythons. To receive a free t-shirt from the agency, participants have to contact the agency with photographic proof that they have removed and killed a python.