Stephen Ionnotta with the over 8-foot Burmese Python on Thursday. (Credit: Ms. B. Haven Fishing & Eco Charters)
Stephen Ionnotta with the over 8-foot Burmese Python on Thursday. (Credit: Ms. B. Haven Fishing & Eco Charters)

Boat captain catches 8-foot Burmese python off Naples Bay

We usually see and hear of Burmese pythons caught in the Everglades, but not in the water. On Thursday, a fishing captain pulled a Burmese python off Naples Bay, taking the invasive species away from further damaging wildlife.

Stephen Ionnotta, a captain with Ms. B. Haven Fishing & Eco Charters out of Port O Call Marina, caught an over 8-foot long python in the south end of Naples Bay. The python was swimming near Windstar going towards Port Royal.

Mike Bailey, the owner of the charter, said it looked like it had been swimming for a while. He said Burmese pythons are usually in bodies of fresh water, but recent rain could have made the saltwater bay more tolerable.

Bailey said with the high waters, the snake could have swam into the bay from other freshwater canals or Mangroves along the coast.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the nonvenomous constrictor is an invasive species and is a threat to native wildlife. Catching one of these snakes can be done on land, not just on the water as Ionnotta did.

The FWC does not require a permit to humanely kill the snake anytime in the year from “22 wildlife management areas, public small game hunting areas and wildlife and environmental areas where pythons are known to exist,” according to its website.

The environmental agency only asks that you get the landowner’s permission before killing it on private land. To learn more about removing pythons in Florida, such as identifying the invasive species and removal opportunities for the public, visit the FWC website.

Reporter:Hannah Vogel
Writer:Michael Mora
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