Sen. Bill Nelson has taken some ribbing for his focus on pythons in the Everglades. But the problem is real. So little surprise the 70-year-old Democrat will participate in Florida's first snake hunt, which begins Saturday and offers cash prizes.
Nelson will go out Thursday with Ron Bergeron, a Broward County developer who has served on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Nelson's "had a hand in drawing attention to the problem and it has, in fact, proven to be a very serious problem," spokesman Dan McLaughlin said. "Bill doesn't mind the heat, the mosquitoes, the alligators and the poisonous snakes. It puts him in touch with natural Florida."
Nelson and Bergeron will use their hands and machetes, McLaughlin said.
As of Thursday morning, 670 people had signed up for the python challenge. Grand prizes of $1,500 for harvesting the most Burmese pythons will be awarded to winners of both the general competition and the python permit holders competition, with additional $1,000 prizes for the longest snake, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.