Culture

She wrapped an 8-foot python around her bike’s handlebars, so ‘it can’t wrap around me.’ The wild tale of how she saved a gator from a snake.


Kym Clark was out for a casual early morning bike ride recently in a rural area near Everglades National Park, when she spotted something strange in the underbrush — the beautiful camouflage pattern of an invasive Burmese python.

To most, this might be a reason to pedal faster, but Clark slammed on the brakes. She couldn’t believe her luck. Clark, who hunts pythons as a hobby with friends and documents her adventures on her Instagram account, usually finds the invasive snakes at night along remote roadsides. To find one in broad daylight was a jackpot moment.

“I was just exercising, but I’m always looking for pythons if I’m in the Everglades,” she said.

Except this one looked odd. As she crept into the underbrush, alone, for a better look, she realized why. The snake, which was about 8 feet long, was coiled around an adolescent alligator, killing it.

Clark, who lives in Delray Beach, ran back to grab the snake stick she keeps strapped to her bike. When she returned, the snake saw her and uncoiled and started to slowly slither away. The alligator seemed dead, so Clark used the stick to gently rake the snake into the open, where she grabbed it behind the head.

Now what?

Clark is no stranger to handling pythons. She estimates she has caught and euthanized around 25 invasive pythons over the last 18 months. But all the gear needed to do the job properly and legally euthanize the snake — her air gun and pithing device — was five miles away, back at her car.

The state encourages people to hunt and remove the highly destructive invasive apex predators, but mandates a strict methodology for killing them. Hunters like Clark must render the snake unconscious — some hunters use air guns or captive bolts — then pith the brain by inserting a rod or screwdriver into the skull and moving it about.

Clark stood there with the snake still very much alive in her hands. How would she get it back to her car? This was supposed to be a peaceful morning ride, not a python “MacGyver” challenge. She’d have to get creative. There was no way she was letting this snake go. No way.

The predators, though here through no fault of their own, are just too good at what they do, and are decimating Florida’s wildlife. Native to Southeast Asia, they arrived in South Florida in the 1970s and ’80s via the exotic pet trade, and thrived when they escaped cages or were released into the wild.

They can survive for months without food and weeks without water. They’re born at 2 feet long, and grow to 6 feet within a year — too large for most wild predators in Florida. Researchers have found more than 75 species of mammals, birds, and reptiles in their digestive tracts, and in areas of Everglades National Park where the snakes dominate, mammal sightings have dropped by 98%. The longest ever caught in Florida was a mammoth 19 feet long.

“I like to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *