Meet the women hunting giant pythons ‘eating everything’ in the Everglades
For most people, the Everglades is one of nature’s greatest feats, a tropical paradise of waterfalls, marshes and nesting birds. But for animal lovers in the region, the Everglades is also home to a new and dangerous predator: the giant python.
This prehistoric snake grows to as long as 18 feet, although it can grow to 28 feet, and is found in abundance throughout Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina. Pythons are especially popular with visitors who like to capture and study them for their “alligator-like” appearance, or those who like to hunt or “capture” them for sport.
The python is considered a protected species and is protected by law. Most of its population lives in the Everglades. In Florida, “no hunting of pythons, any exotic or native, is allowed,” according to the state’s Division of Wildlife Protection.
Here are the menagerie of women hunting giant snakes in the South, and then some of the men trying to hunt them.
Diane McPhillips (left) and Chris Bouchard (right) stand among the pythons in the Everglades. McPhillips is a retired professor at the University of Florida. According to her website, she has done extensive research about python diversity, habits and population levels throughout the United States.
“It’s one of the most exciting hunting destinations around the world. It’s just beautiful, you know? So a lot of people who come here have more time than they normally would, you know? So they don’t have the normal schedule things can dictate.” —Chris Bouchard, a hunter who works with Diane McPhillips
In addition to hunting giant pythons, McPhillips is a guide and a retired professor at the University of Florida. She has spent her career studying the giant pythons and the surrounding wetlands. She has done extensive research on the python diversity, habits and population levels throughout the United States.
“In the last 20 or so years