Florida plans snake-hunting contest
MIAMI — The battle to control Burmese pythons in the Everglades has employed an array of tactics to date, including snake-sniffing dogs, GPS-equipped “Judas” snakes and teams of state-licensed reptile wranglers.
Florida wildlife managers on Monday announced a new approach: a snake-hunting contest offering cash prizes.
The Python Challenge, scheduled to begin next month, will pay $1,500 for the largest number of snakes and $1,000 for the longest one in two categories. One would include 70 or so licensed python hunters and the other would be open to anyone willing to pay a $25 registration fee, take a half-hour online identification course and - it probably goes without saying - sign a liability waiver.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission touts the month-long contest as a way to raise public awareness about the threat the exotic constrictors pose to native wildlife in the Everglades and potentially put a dent in their population. Scientists estimate that thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of the once-popular pets now live in the wild.
— The Miami Herald