An unusual number of consecutive days with record cold temperatures in typically balmy south Florida has prompted the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to encourage hunters to take advantage of the conditions to cull Burmese pythons and other unwanted invasive species on state wildlife manage areas (WMAs).

The reptiles are more likely to be in open areas to find warmth in the sun, making them vulnerable to hunters, said an agency spokesperson.

All properly licensed and permitted Florida hunters have the authority to harvest pythons and other reptiles of concern, including the Indian python, reticulated python, northern and southern African rock python, amethystine or scrub python, green anaconda and Nile monitor lizard. Small-game hunting seasons continue through March 7 on Everglades, Francis S. Taylor, Holey Land and Rotenberger WMAs and until Feb. 1 at Big Cypress National Preserve.

“During the warm-weather months, Burmese pythons stay hidden out of the sun, but with the temperatures dipping below normal in these areas, they have to find a way to stay warm,” said Jenny Tinnell, FWC biologist with the exotic species section. “They may be out in the open more than before to find the warmth of the sun, and we hope hunters, in the normal course of hunting in these areas, will take advantage of the opportunity to help stop the spread of this non-native species.”

In all four WMAs, only a Florida hunting license and management area permit are required to hunt reptiles of concern from now through the end of the small-game seasons.

To see more Florida pythons click HERE.