In what may be the strangest combination of topics we’ve published in recent years, the article linked above details how GWOT veterans, earn money, help the environment, and work out their trauma by rounding up snakes (Burmese Pythons specifically) for fun and profit at a 10-day python hunting contest. Yes, that was all in one sentence, and it’s a lot to process but it’s a very cool story.
Burmese Pythons are not something you’d normally expect to encounter in the US, a minimum of 6700mi from their native range. But as with all things, Florida has to be special, and the best guess is that some likely well-meaning snake owners released their pet when it started getting too big to handle. Now these monster snakes that can reach over 23′ long, 200lb, and can be as big around as a telephone pole are taking over the everglades. They’ll eat anything they can catch, including alligators and even whitetail deer, and the damage they are doing to the ecosystem is immense.
So the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) holds an annual contest to see who can bring back the most snakes, with a grand prize of $2500 in both Professional and Amateur categories. Yes, Florida recognizes Snake Hunter as a profession. If you’ve got an eye for spotting wildlife, a wallet begging for money, and a desire to wrestle with what is basically a two-dozen foot long, living thigh muscle that can swallow you, this may be the break you’ve been waiting for!