*Who needs the Powerball? Capture or kill an enormous Burmese python and win a cash prize!
Some of the most fucktastic stuff goes down in Florida. Swear to God.
I understand the problem: over two decades ago, the Burmese python was introduced to Florida’s ecosystem. The critters aren’t even native to Florida, but when Hurricane Andrew destroyed a breeding facility in 1992, several escaped, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Why on God’s green earth was there a python breeding facility in Florida in the first place???
“It is also likely that pet pythons have been released in and around the Everglades,” the FFWCC’s website says.
Why on God’s green earth were people allowed to have pythons as pets in the first place???
The effect has been profound and devastating. The serpents have caused the near “complete disappearance of raccoons, rabbits, and opossums,” according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
For the uninitiated, the Burmese python can be as large as 23 feet long and weigh up to 200 pounds. If their name isn’t a clue, the snake’s not native to this country — or this hemisphere. The native Southeast Asian snake is “wreaking havoc on one of America’s most beautiful, treasured and naturally bountiful ecosystems,” USGS Director Marcia McNutt said of the 1.5-million-acre Everglades National Park in a 2012 report. “Right now, the only hope to halt further python invasion —
— into new areas is swift, decisive and deliberate human action.”
Hence the Python Challenge Hunt. Last weekend, Florida state officials kicked off a month-long competition designed to remove as many of the snakes from the Everglades as possible. According to an event organizer, more than 600 people have signed up for the event.
600 crazy-assed people.
A cash prize goes to the hunter who captures — dead or alive — the most Burmese pythons, as well as one for the longest one.
I’m all for a challenge. NO ONE is more competitive than I am. I’d run my ass ragged trying to beat LaBron on the court. But a “Python Challenge” hunt?? I feel like the Patti LaBelle pie guy. “Patti!!!!!! NO!!!!!”
Those who say “yes” will have their work cut out for them. “Even though it seems like such a large snake would be easy to find or see, only a very small fraction of pythons present in the park are ever detected,” the USGS says on its website. “Their cryptic coloration; hide, wait, and then ambush behavior;
HIDE, WAIT, AND AMBUSH BEHAVIOR!
the dense low vegetation that helps conceal them; and seasonal inundation of the landscape, (are) limiting human access.”
They’re so hard to find that in the 2013 inaugural Python Challenge
THEY’VE HAD TO HAVE MORE THAN ONE OF THESE EVENTS??
1,600 hunters could only produce 68 snakes. In fact, they’re so hard to detect, there are no reliable estimates of just how many Burmese pythons there are in Florida.
Superman’s usually my inspiration. In times of trouble, I pull on the red cape and boots (don’t judge) and get the job done. But this time, I’m turning to another fictional hero to set the example.
You’re my boy, Indy. And I’m following YOUR lead on this one. Hell. Fucking. No.
This blog was written by freelance writer Michael P Coleman from the safety and comfort of his office on the west coast, 2,000 or so miles from Florida’s Everglades National Park. Connect with him on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP