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Snake Hunt! Python Hunters Hit the Everglades for Big Prizes!

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Indiana Jones once famously said “Snakes? I hate snakes!” Yea Indy, me too. I don’t come across many snakes, living in the city and all, but even when I camp or hike, I stay on high alert.

Having grown up on a farm, I’ve encountered my share of garter snakes, six-foot black snakes, and the occasional water moccasin. Just terrifying. Probably didn’t help that my older brother assured me EVERY snake was poisonous and probably going to bite me resulting in my sad, untimely death. Love older brothers.

Snake guys always baffled me. You know the guy, walking in the park with a python around his neck, freaking out the kids. Cool, right?

I also never got why anyone would have snakes as pets. Snakes have no emotion or love or loyalty. They would eat you if they could. Especially pythons.

Having a python in a cage in your home, feeding it mice is the strangest “pet” you could have. I don’t want to postulate on the mental state of pet snake owners, just suffice to say we ain’t hanging out.

Often, people take in exotic pets, and it just doesn’t work out, right? We have all heard stories about an alligator in a lake, somewhere it definitely shouldn’t be, or some fool has big cats on his 20 acres outside of town. Lunatics. Since you can’t just drop a gator or an eight-foot python off at the shelter, people often just turn them loose to survive on their own.

Thing about pythons is, they won’t just survive, they will thrive. So much so that the Everglades in Florida is becoming overrun with them. Guess I know what tonight’s nightmare is going to be about.

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Well kids, pack up your snake bags? I don’t know how you hunt snakes, but it’s time for the quest for snakes and big cash prizes in the Glades! Let’s check the AP for the slimy details:

More than 800 competitors will be trudging through the Florida Everglades for the next eight days, in search of invasive Burmese pythons that will bring in thousands of dollars in prize money.

The python hunt officially began Friday morning and runs through 5 p.m. on Aug. 15, according to officials who gathered in Miami to kick off the annual event.

“This is significant because every python removed is one less invasive species preying on our native birds, mammals and reptiles,” said Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis.

Well, if we know anything about Ron DeSantis and the First Lady Casey, nobody is preying on anything in Florida if they can do anything about it!  Kids or native wildlife! The groomers and the pythons have to go!

Burmese Pythons are dominant predators, much like some of the turtle species that just travel from lake to lake eating all the fish and moving on. Not good for a delicate ecosystem like the Everglades.

Since 2000, more than 17,000 pythons have been removed from the Everglades ecosystem, according to a news release. Burmese pythons, which are not native to Florida, prey on birds, mammals and other reptiles. A female python can lay as many as 100 eggs a year.

Obviously, we see what the problem is here. One hundred eggs a year is a lot of pythons. My math skills are rudimentary at best, so suffice to say that’s enough snakes to haunt the rest of my dreams.

Cash prizes of up to $2,500 are available in both the professional and novice categories for those who remove the most pythons, officials said. There are additional prizes for the longest python in each category. Each python must be dead, with hunters facing disqualification if they kill them inhumanely or kill a native snake.

So far, the registered hunters represent 32 states and Canada. Registrations are being accepted throughout the competition. It costs $25 to register and participants must also complete an online training course.

Why is there a “novice” category? Should we just be allowing Billy Ray and his cousin Jeff to stomp around the swamp hunting pythons? That seems to me to be the scenario where Jeff goes missing until they cut him out of the belly of a fat python. Lunch?

How does one “humanely” kill a python? Show it a two-minute montage of Joe Biden trying to speak, so it laughs itself to death? Wait a minute, I’ve seen Joe try to speak. That’s not humane.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t point out, you can get trained to do this online. Online folks. Some things shouldn’t be available online. Things like, “how to catch a python”!

Good luck to all the brave python hunters, I hope someone takes a head count. Gotta make sure we end the competition with the same number of hunters we started with.