Beagle puppy versus giant python. It sounds like an unfair fight, but Python Pete will soon have snakes slithering for safety. The two-year-old beagle is training to sniff out the Burmese pythons that threaten to overrun Florida’s Everglades National Park.
REPTILES ON THE LOOSE The snakes, which can grow 20 feet long, have been illegally released by pet owners who didn’t realize how large their baby snakes would become. The giant pythons are now breeding in the national park and preying on native animals.
TRACKING THE SSSSCENT Python Pete will track down the giant snakes so they can be captured and removed by humans. To teach tracking skills, trainer Lori Oberhofer puts snakes in burlap sacks and drags them around to lay down a scent. “Pete still wants to jump on the snakes like he’s playing with them,” says Oberhofer. So she’s training the dog to bark at the snakes from a safe distance, which is a good idea. No one wants this future python tracker to become a snake snack!
Text by Stefan Lovgren
Photograph by Karine Aigner/NGS Staff
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