Fl. python problem gets another potential solution—dogs

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Florida’s snake-y situation is getting some canine relief.

ABC News reports that the Sunshine State—which is currently being plagued by an invasive species of Burmese pythons—has unleashed python-sniffing dogs to help combat the problem.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) trained the python-sniffing pooches—a black Labrador named Truman and a point setter named Eleanor—for over a month before putting them to work.

Although the two typically sniff out less-intimidating creatures such as bed bugs and sea turtle nests, both Truman and Eleanor have taken to smelling python-scented towels and learning other cues in order to help find the snakes.

By early December, the pooches—officially called the Detector Dog Team—had their first success.

Truman was able to reveal the location of a Burmese python in the Rocky Glades Public Small Game Hunting Area in Miami-Dade County. The reptile was measured to be a whopping 8 feet long.

Truman's first catch

Dog handler Paula Ziadi, instructs Truman, after he tracked down an 8-foot-python, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Miami-Dade County, Fla. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation is beginning a new program to use dogs to sniff out invasive pythons. (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via AP)AP

“They’re hard workers, commissioners,” said FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton to his colleagues of the Detector Dog Team. “They really are very dedicated and you can see that they’re very proud and they should be.”

Truman and Eleanor may have had one success, but they certainly have their work cut out for them—there’s an estimate of 100,000 and 300,000 Burmese pythons wreaking havoc across Florida’s ecosystem.

Nevertheless, the dogs appear to be a viable solution to the issue. Or Florida residents could do as Marie Antoinette once loosely said: “Let them eat snake!

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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