Florida government pays bounty hunters to capture pythons

Bounty hunters paid by the state of Florida captured one ton of Burmese pythons in Florida.

In April, the Florida House of Representatives voted to enter into competitive bid contracts with private individuals who are interested in hunting down pythons, lionfish and other dangerous species in the Everglades.

Hunters are paid $8.10 hourly and given monthly bonuses based on the size of the snakes they capture.

Since then, and with a few weeks remaining in the program, bounty hunters have bagged 2,000 pounds worth of giant snakes. Burmese pythons weigh about 200 pounds each, so that's roughly 10 massive snakes.

In the video above, one of the bounty hunters wrestles a massive snake into the box -- it's the largest python ever caught at 16-feet long.

The Houston Chronicle identified the man in the viral video as Dustin Crum.

He said he was passing by when he saw something shimmer on the ground and quickly pounced.

"I was driving by and caught a shimmer of something," Crum said. "I thought it was an empty water bottle or something reflecting off the sun. When I stopped, I could see it was a big snake."

It's certainly not easy to bag the snakes, since they are mostly muscle.

"It's a battle with heavy weights," Crum continued. "I didn't know it was going to be that big, it was fairly fat, but I didn't know it was going to be 16'10". I was blown away."

According to Weather.com, bounty hunters are paid $50 for every 4-foot snake they catch and $25 for each additional foot. If a python is caught nesting, that's an additional $150.

So far, the government has spent $29,000 on snake hunting. Crum himself made $350 on top of his hourly wage for bagging the biggest one out there.

According to the National Park Service, the population of Burmese pythons in the Everglades presently is the result of accidental and/or intentional releases by pet owners.

Pythons have been seriously damaging the ecosystem in recent years. They eat a wide variety of mammals, birds and even alligators. By preying on native wildlife and taking food away from other native predators, they are endangering the natural order of Florida's ecological communities.