Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bag some Florida pythons, win some cash

The battle to control Burmese pythons in the Everglades has employed an array of tactics, 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 awareness about the threat the exotic constrictors pose to 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 live in the wild.

Carli Segelson, a spokeswoman for the FWC, said the agency believes the online training and additional tips offered at a kick-off event planned Jan. 12 at the University of Florida's research center in Fort Lauderdale will teach neophytes how to identify and safely capture large, potentially dangerous snakes. The largest Burmese python captured to date in Florida was a 17.5-footer that weighed 164 pounds. Typical pythons caught in the Everglades run from six to nine feet.

The contest is likely to appeal mostly to seasoned hunters. The online course, for instance, includes tips for humanely dispatching the snakes, which is a requirement. Some options include a gunshot to the head or decapitation with a machete, but that second method alone isn't enough to minimize pain, according to the contest website.

"Regardless of the technique you choose, make sure your technique results in immediate loss of consciousness and destruction of the Burmese python's brain," the euthanasia guide notes.

For rules and details, go to pythonchallenge.org.

Bag some Florida pythons, win some cash 12/05/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 9:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84

    Nation

    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General

    Crime

    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  5. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest

    Nation

    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.