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Floridas Python Challenge Draws About 800 Hunters

Discussion in 'The Library' started by Rich, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    An armed mob set out into the Florida Everglades on Saturday to flush out a scaly invader.

    It sounds like the second act of a sci-fi horror flick but, really, it's pretty much Florida's plan for dealing with an infestation of Burmese pythons that are eating their way through a fragile ecosystem.

    Nearly 800 people signed up for the month-long "Python Challenge" that started Saturday afternoon. The vast majority — 749 — are members of the general public who lack the permits usually required to harvest pythons on public lands.
    "We feel like anybody can get out in the Everglades and figure out how to try and find these things," said Nick Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "It's very safe, getting out in the Everglades. People do it all the time."

    Twenty-eight python permit holders also joined the hunt at various locations in the Everglades. The state is offering cash prizes to whoever brings in the longest python and whoever bags the most pythons by the time the competition ends at midnight Feb. 10.

    Dozens of would-be python hunters showed up for some last-minute training in snake handling Saturday morning at the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center in Davie.
    The training came down to common sense: Drink water, wear sunscreen, don't get bitten by anything and don't shoot anyone.
    Many of the onlookers dressed in camouflage, though they probably didn't have to worry about spooking the snakes. They would have a much harder time spotting the splotchy, tan pythons in the long green grasses and woody brush of the Everglades.

    "It's advantage-snake," mechanical engineer Dan Keenan concluded after slashing his way through a quarter-mile of scratchy sawgrass, dried leaves and woody overgrowth near a campsite in the Big Cypress National Preserve, which is about 50 miles southeast of Naples and is supervised by the National Park Service.
    Keenan, of Merritt Island, and friend Steffani Burd of Melbourne, a statistician in computer security, holstered large knives and pistols on their hips, so they'd be ready for any python that crossed their path. The snakes can grow to more than 20 feet in length.

    The most useful tool they had, though, was the key fob to their car. Burd wanted to know that they hadn't wandered too far into the wilderness, so Keenan clicked the fob until a reassuring beep from their car chirped softly through the brush.
    The recommended method for killing pythons is the same for killing zombies: a gunshot to the brain, or decapitation to reduce the threat. (The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals doesn't approve of the latter method, though.)
    Pythons are kind of the zombies of the Everglades, though their infestation is less deadly to humans. The snakes have no natural predators, they can eat anything in their way, they can reproduce in large numbers and they don't belong here.
    Florida currently prohibits possession or sale of the pythons for use as pets, and federal law bans the importation and interstate sale of the species.

    Wildlife experts say pythons are just the tip of the invasive species iceberg. Florida is home to more exotic species of amphibians and reptiles than anywhere else in the world, said John Hayes, dean of research for the University of Florida's Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences.

    Roughly 2,050 pythons have been harvested in Florida since 2000, according to the conservation commission. It's unknown exactly how many are slithering through the wetlands.
    Officials hope the competition will help rid the Everglades of the invaders while raising awareness about the risks that exotic species pose to Florida's native wildlife.

    Keenan and Burd emerged from the Everglades empty-handed Saturday, but they planned to return Sunday, hoping for cooler temperatures that would drive heat-seeking snakes into sunny patches along roads and levees.
    Burd still deemed the hunt a success. "For me, I take back to my friends and community that there is a beautiful environment out here. It's opening the picture from just the python issue to the issue of how do we protect our environment," she said.

    The Original Article Can Be Found Here: Fla. 'python challenge' draws about 800 hunters - Yahoo! News
  2. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    I feel like more people are going to be shot then snakes :) Many will have massive sunburns and bug bites. Also, statistically speaking, more people will be killed by snakes between now and Feb. 10 then all of the other snake bite incidents recorded in the history of the world combined.
  3. millerpj

    millerpj Elite Member

    I just saw a report on this and they were predicting that possibly 25 pythons would be found at the end of the month.
  4. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    A whole 25? The claims are that there are thousands upon thousands hiding in there. Each of the 800 participants should be walking out of the glades with at least 2 snakes a piece if all of the medias propaganda was true. I am not saying that I am glad that they will be killing upward of 25 snakes but I am happy that they aren't pulling them out by the hundreds.
  5. JoeyG

    JoeyG Subscribed User Premium Member

    Curious to see what the end result of this month long hunt will be.....
  6. Wyldrose

    Wyldrose Elite Member

    I have a strong feeling a lot more people and native animals will be harmed then the invasives...

    800 people on a mission to kill doesn't sound like a good situation to be around.

    I'm rooting for the snakes haha!
  7. Wifi

    Wifi Active Member

    I'm interested to see what happens, as well. It's really upsetting, since the reason this is happening in the first place is due to many irresponsible people. It's sad.
  8. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    800 citizens armed with guns and machetes given free range to go slashing and shooting thru the glades.
    Yeah that makes me feel safer.
    I wonder how many native species are going to get killed by this.
  9. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I agree. This can escalate into shooting anything that moves cause no one is around type of thing in a hurry.
  10. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Particularly if there is alcohol involved!
  11. Ultima78

    Ultima78 Elite Member

    Florida is really crazy guys. Its home to alot of animals, not just reptiles. We also have tegus on the loose too. Tegus and iguanas are the big lizards running down here.
  12. Bowski

    Bowski Active Member

    I saw a video of this a couple weeks ago, the news reporter followed these two hunters around...
    They both had shotguns and a couple pistols.
    (I'm an avid gun owner... but this was beyond excessive... most gator hunters use a .22LR for christsake...)
    Then they showed the two dumbasses running to a nearby riverbank and blasting of 12ga shells into the water's edge yelling
    "I just saw something move!!" "Did you see it?!?!"

    Thankfully nothing but a treebranch was hurt

    This is the kind of crap that gives gun owning psudo-rednecks like me a bad name.
    I'll see if I can find the link when I get home from work.
  13. NancyA

    NancyA Elite Member

  14. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    A whole whopping 37. I could do better than that with just 2 or 3 of you guys. Lol
  15. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    And be the "herpcenter annual barbecue and get together! This years main attraction humane population control on (spins a wheel) Florida pythons!!!!"
    Might be entertaining.
  16. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    At least the crazees with the guns are off the street I guess.
    Really too bad they set people loose with guns on them.
    Should have sent them out with just snake bags and make them work for it.

    Of course you get tons of people show up when you say, C'MON you can shoot stuff all legal like.
  17. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    So much for their claim of over 100,000 pythons in the everglades!
    1000 people out there and they were only able to get 37?

    Morons with guns, probably drunk, and opening fire on anything that moves!
  18. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Population control on morons?
    That's a brilliant idea!

    EDIT: Upon further review this idea isn't would take over 100 years and leave less than 300 people alive in the world....
  19. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    I could live with that!
  20. kriminaal

    kriminaal HH Block Leader Staff Member Premium Member

    I know right?
    They talk like the everglades are teeming with them.

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