Florida woman uses electric bike to hunt 15-foot snakes in the Everglades

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Electric bikes have long been popular for hunters due to their ability to reach hard-to-access areas quickly and quietly. But now we’re seeing a rather unique use of e-bikes as a hunting tool: to help take down invasive pythons in the Everglades.

Electric bicycles have proven popular in Florida, with its year-round riding weather and high humidity that can make longer pedal-powered rides arduous.

But snake-hunting is still a rather small niche of the broader e-bike market. At the rate that the local python population has grown though, perhaps that could be changing.

Burmese pythons in the Florida Everglades present a significant ecological problem due to their status as an invasive species. Native to Southeast Asia, these pythons were likely introduced into the Everglades through the exotic pet trade, either by escape or intentional release by owners who could no longer care for them.

In the absence of natural predators in the Everglades, their population has exploded, severely disrupting the local ecosystem. Burmese pythons are known for their voracious appetite and have been responsible for drastic reductions in the populations of native mammals, birds, and reptiles. Ecologists have measured a drastic 95% reduction of local mammal species after the snakes’ population explosion, decimating the ecosystem in the Everglades. The snakes have been known to eat adult deer, alligators, and family pets.

Their presence threatens the biodiversity of the Everglades’ unique ecosystem as they compete with native predators and alter the natural food chain. This situation has prompted extensive efforts to control and manage their population, but the challenge is substantial due to the pythons’ elusive nature and the vastness of the Everglades.

That’s precisely where e-bikes come in, helping snake hunters reach farther into the dense forests and marshes of the local terrain without alerting the snakes from a distance.

Snake hunter Kym Clark is one of many Floridians who have answered the state’s call to hunt the invasive snakes in an effort to protect the local ecosystem and avoid the local extinction of many important species.

Clark recently shared the above image showing a 10-foot Burmese python on her electric bike. Such snakes can often grow well over 15 feet long, and an 18-foot python was captured by biologists in 2022, weighing in at over 200 lbs (90 kg).

Electric bicycles, especially those with 4-inch or wider “fat tires”, have become a go-to method of travel for many hunters. Electric bicycles allow hunters to travel far distances in areas that don’t allow motor vehicles like ATVs and SUVs. Many hunting-specific electric bikes even come with trailers designed to carry deer and other game.

via: USAToday

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