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Florida Tackles Rouge Burmese Python Problem With “Free For All” Hunting Contest

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

One thing you will never see me doing; going on a snake hunt.  Anything bigger than a worm and I run for the hills and I have no shame admitting that. I do NOT like snakes and it seems as though Florida just can’t get a hold on their Burmese Python problem, until now. Welcome, to the 2013 Python Challenge.

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I first learned of this Burmese Python problem in Florida a few years ago from a show on Nat Geo that pointed out this infestation of Pythons in the Everglades was due largely to homeowners who had these snakes as pets (which is illegal in Florida) and could no longer care for them so they get dumped in the Everglades and then they BREED.

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

The irresponsible snake owners weren’t smart enough to know this problem would become rampant in short time and sure enough, the Pythons are now eating their way through the Florida eco system and something has to be done.

Enter the 2013 Python Challenge which kicked off yesterday in Florida.  The goal?  To collect as many Burmese Pythons as humanly possible between now and Midnight February 10th.  Cash prizes will be awarded for the largest snake caught and also the largest quantity of snakes captured. (Read Susan’s snake story here.)

800 entered the contest with the winner getting a $50,000 payday.

Wildlife officials say going into the Everglades is “very safe and that people do it all the time.”  But I’m thinking that lurking around are probably 12 different kinds of deadly snakes, panthers and alligators just to mention a few of the things that can kill or mame you in short order.  Sure, sounds plenty safe.

The irony is that 750 of these contestants aren’t even hunters or outdoors people for the most part.  Only 28 have permits to hunt these snakes but anyone was invited to join in this month long hunt that organizers believe will “rid” the Everglades of this problem.

Everyone did have the chance at some training which included this advice,

Drink water, wear sunscreen, don’t get bitten by anything and don’t shoot anyone.

To give you an idea of how unsafe this is probably going to be one pair of tourist hunters would only go within key fob distance to his car because he didn’t want to get too far so they stayed within “chirping” distance.

Wildlife and State officials recommended that the method for killing pythons is the same for killing zombies: a gunshot to the brain, or decapitation to reduce the threat.

2013 Python Challenge

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