Florida made headlines (this time intentionally) when it announced the Florida Python Challenge, a month-long hunting spree with cash rewards to kill the state’s Burmese Python population which has taken over in the Everglades.
It’s believed the snakes, which aren’t native to Florida, first made it into the wild when residents keeping them as pets either released them accidentally or on purpose when they got too big for their homes. Burmese Pythons can grow in excess of 15 feet and have been known to eat adult deer weighing as much as 70 pounds.
1,500 participants registered for the Python Challenge, including one of Florida’s senators, lured in part by a handsome cash reward of $1,000 for the longest snake and a grand prize of $1,500 for the person who kills the most pythons. Some traveled from as far as San Francisco to try their hand at snake-killing. The Challenge was supposed to significantly reduce the population of Burmese Pythons, which have begun to threaten the Everglades’ ecosystem.
But the Python Challenge ends February 10 at midnight, and with just 5 days left to go USA Today reports today that only 50 snakes have been killed so far. That’s just one snake per 30 participants.
With 1,500 participating and the state expecting to pay a bounty to the hunter racking up a pile of snake carnage, one can assume that Florida was expecting the total kill to be at least in the thousands.
One thing’s for sure: 50 snakes is not going to put a dent in the population of Florida’s explosive Burmese Python population.
Well, whatcha gonna do? Go back to hunting face-eating zombies, probably.
It should also be mentioned this news story comes eerily close to an episode of “The Simpsons” that focused entirely on snake-whacking. So, there’s that, too.