Guardians of the Glades is coming back for a second season, and with more pythons than ever decimating the mammal population of the Florida Everglades, "Wildman" Dusty Crum has his work cut out for him tracking down and hunting the invasive species. Ahead of the Tuesday, Jan. 7 Season 2 premiere of the Discovery series, PopCulture.com has an exclusive sneak peek of what waits in the swampy water for Crum and his team of python bounty hunters as the python "invasion" becomes worse than ever.
Burmese pythons have been a problem in the Everglades since the 1970s, having escaped from pet owners or been set free, but Hurricane Andrew in 1992 took the issue to a whole new level when a breeding facility was demolished, unleashing 900 baby pythons out into the wild. In Season 2 of Guardians, the pythons have doubled in size and number, forcing Florida to increase the bounty for hunters who bring in the disruptive animals.
For Dusty, that means reinventing his tactics, from new technology to new tactics involving his team of snake hunters — rookie Brittany, swamp guru Jay, wildlife expert Gary, and survivalist Tom.
In May, Crum opened up to PopCulture.com about the danger these snakes pose to the local fauna, especially the native animal population.
"I just, I gotta stand up for the rabbits and the otters and stuff where, they don't have a fighting chance at all — the snake wins every time," he said at the time. "So, I feel like if I can help them and stand up for them, it's like a kid that's getting bullied. All the native animals are getting bullied by the snakes, and it's time that somebody stood, stands up to them."
It's dangerous work, tracking them through the water in his bare feet, but Crum has faith he'll come out of each hunt alive.
"That's kind of one of my fears is getting in the water and getting drowned by one of the snakes or something like that," he added. "I feel like that God won't put anything in front of me that I can't handle. So, I just got to keep believing that and then keep going to work every day."
Guardians of the Glades returns for an all-new season Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 10 p.m. ET on Discovery and Discovery GO.
Photo credit: Discovery