Florida has a pretty hilarious record on public works as it does on just about everything—a few months ago the governor accidentally gave out a phone sex number as a state meningitis help hotline. So when it came time to address Florida’s exploding population of gigantic Burmese Pythons that’s been upsetting the ecosystem by scarfing down entire corners of the food chain, of course the Florida government decided the best way to combat the beasts was to ask everyday Floridians to start hunting them in the state-wide 2013 Python Challenge.
To put this in context: Burmese Pythons can grow to over 17 feet long and well over 150 pounds. They eat everything from rats, rabbits and storks to a 76-pound adult deer that was found in the belly of one particularly mammoth Florida python. Florida started cracking down on the Burmese Python after one strangled a two year-old in his crib in 2009.
But yeah, with a $25 registration fee and an “online training course” that basically sounds like watching the “Whacking Day” episode of “The Simpsons” (“it suggests shooting the snake in the head with a firearm or decapitating it with a machete,” writes a Fox News affiliate) you too can get out there and get your hands on some python.
The contest explains that “reducing the population means killing the snakes.” With hundreds of thousands of Burmese Pythons now living in the Everglades, this had better be one big snake hunt. The 2013 Python Challenge runs from January 12 to midnight on February 10 with a prize of $1,000 for the longest snake and a grand prize of $1,500 for the person who kills the most pythons. No word on how you’re supposed to store your dead pythons during the month-long challenge, or how you’re supposed to transport them.
And in the interest of sportsmanship, road kill will not count.