Pythons have been rampaging through the Florida wilderness ever since the first pet that got too big was let go into the Everglades from a teary-eyed owner who could no longer care for the beast. But they’re an invasive species. They have enormous appetites (regularly feasting on endangered species like the Key Largo wood rat and the endangered wood stork; and earlier this year park officials found a sixteen-foot long python that had burst open after eating a 76-pound deer) and healthy libidos (females can produce an excess of 35 eggs, and they mate like crazy). As far as Florida is concerned, it’s time they’re stopped.
That’s where you come in. The state of Florida is hosting its first “Python Challenge,” a month-long python hunting extravaganza beginning January 12, aimed at reducing the invasive species’ numbers and rewarding participants – if you win – with cash prizes: Bag the longest snake and receive $1,000. Turn in the greatest number and you get $1,500.
Both winning positions also afford you the knowledge that you’re doing something good for the wilderness – even if does involve euthanizing fellow sentient beings via a chop of the machete or the blast from the shotgun. According to the rules listed on the event website, participants must dispatch the pythons in “a humane manner that results in immediate loss of consciousness and destruction of the brain.” So there’s that, at least.
Check out http://www.pythonchallenge.org/ for more information and registration details.
By Bryan Schatz