Blake Russ and Devin Belliston’s 11-foot Burmese python is getting a rare reprieve: he’s going back into the wild. Why is this incredibly large creature slithering back into the Everglades when the two hunters went through so much to nab him, especially considering the fact that the Burmese python is a highly invasive species?
According to ABC News, the snake has been conscripted as a double-agent working for researchers to flush out more pythons. The python was caught as part of the 2013 Florida Python Challenge, a month-long competition meant to draw attention to the ecological danger the animal presents. The hunt ended with a modest 68 snakes. While the number of snakes caught have been cited as a failure, scientists agree this isn’t about the quantity.
“We’ve never collected so many pythons in such a short period of time. It really is an unprecedented sample,” said hunt organizer Frank Mazzotti. “It provides us with a sort of autopsy of the wildlife. There’s going to be recommendations coming out of this that will help us be able to remove more snakes from the wild.”