Perhaps you’ve heard that Florida’s Everglades are becoming overrun with Burmese pythons. If you haven’t, well, the Everglades are becoming overrun with Burmese pythons. Why? Because some people thought it was a good idea to buy an 8-plus-foot-long pet that can eat just about anything it looks at. After a while, these people figured it wasn’t such a good idea, and let their snakes go into the wild. Some may have arrived by plane.
The problem, or course, is that Florida isn’t Burma, though parts of it are as bombed out. That means these snakes were introduced into areas where they’re not supposed to be, and they are killing everything. Birds, deer, even alligators, are no match for these things.
So Florida’s fighting back the best way it knows how: by sending people into the Everglades with machetes in a hunting competition.
That’s right. The 2013 Python Challenge is going on right now. What’s that? You aren’t in Florida, but you really want to get paid to kill as many snakes as you can? You’re in luck, friend. The competition is going on for an entire month, and it just started on Saturday.
At this point, over 800 people are signed up to join in the hunt. The person with the most dead snakes wins a cool $1,500, and we assume, a year’s supply of python meat. There’s also a prize for whoever bags the longest snake, which will probably go along with a fair amount of snickering from the less mature onlookers.
It’s the first time the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has held the event, and no doubt it’s off to a roaring start. They held a kickoff celebration, complete with training on how to kill the snakes (aim for the head). And the agency isn’t going to allow cheaters, either. If you bring in a snake that was a pet, used for research purposes, not from the Everglades, or is a snake species native to Florida, you’re out, bub. Aside from that, you just need to get a python harvest permit and pay $25 to go on your killing spree.
Naturally, PETA, which any day now will be listed as a terrorist organization, has voiced its opposition to the event, because no one is planning to put the snakes in a box, name them, and take them to a snake sanctuary, where they can live out their rest of their days. Or whatever it is those hippies believe in.
This may be the greatest event to be sponsored by a state. Finally, we have a state government forward-thinking enough to adopt the only policy that can work: Kill the bastards. Next we need to develop the Predator’s invisibility suit.
Oh right, we’re working on it.