The pythons that have been taking over the Everglades may finally have an actual predator: a group of 25 Floridians paid by a state agency to kill them.
This is not your usual minimum-wage job. The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board is allowing those chosen to work up to eight hours a day at $8.10 an hour. But there are cash bonuses depending on the hunter's bounty.
The pilot programs runs for two months starting April 1. The agency just started accepting applications Friday morning, so if this sounds like your dream job, there's still time.
Officials will see if this actually curbs the growing problem.
The invasive species was likely introduced in Florida by accidental or intentional releases by pet owners. The massive snakes have become the top of the Everglades' food web, killing native prey and robbing panthers, bobcats and alligators of their needed meals.
In addition to the hourly wage, the state's python killers will get $50 for each snake measuring up to 4 feet and an additional $25 for every foot past that. Hunters can score another $100 for each python taken out that was found guarding a nest of eggs.
So what will it take to become a state-certified python killer?
You have to be 18, have an iPhone or Android phone (they require use of a GPS app), have a driver's license and have no felonies or wildlife-related offenses within the last five years.
And yes, you can use a gun to kill the snakes, but regular state and federal laws apply.
(A gun actually isn't required, according to the agency's website, but good luck killing an 8-foot-long snake without one.)
Also, experience will be considered — if this is your kind of thing.
We can't all be Bobby Hill — the state employee who has killed more pythons than any other — but now the regular citizens of Miami-Dade County can at least try.
Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale.