Why This Man Is Stalking Snakes in the Florida Everglades

Pythons have taken over the Florida Everglades.

Inside Edition is stalking snakes with a man who was hired by the state of Florida to hunt pythons. 

The state's python epidemic began in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew destroyed a reptile zoo and 900 pythons escaped. The pythons have been destroying the fragile Florida Everglades ever since. 

Mike Kimmel told Inside Edition that he grabs them and holds them in a case in his truck. The snakes are then humanely put down. What he does, he said, is “not cruel. ... We go about a specific way. This snake does not suffer. I love wild life.” 

Kimmel is part of the state's python elimination program, run by the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

The pythons have razor sharp teeth and can swallow a person whole thanks to their tremendous muscles. One python can weight up to 200 pounds. A python will devour anything, even alligators.

Hunting them in a murky swamp is particularly dangerous, Kimmel said.

“More likely you’re going to creep up on it and its going to be in your face,” he said. 

Kimmel said he has captured more than 200 pythons, but there are thousands more out there. 

“It’s out here eating our native wildlife,” he said. “It’s crucial we find these snakes and remove them from the area.”