Hundreds of amateur hunters have made their way to Florida this month for Florida’s first annual snake hunt. The snake hunt, known as The Python Challenge, is an open competition held by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which hopes to catch and kill invasive Burmese pythons.
The Python Challenge is not for the faint hearted, but those that take on the challenge are certain to reap the rewards. Some shop owners are paying hunters upwards of $150 per snake to use the skin to make belts, bags, shoes and even python trousers! At current, 750 members of the public have signed up to be part of The Python Challenge, as well as 28 permit holders, but with the hunt going on until the 8th February, there is still time for more hunting enthusiasts to sign up.
According to The Python Challenge’s website, 27 Burmese pythons have been harvested as of Monday. The lucky hunter who catches the longest snake will receive a $1,000 cash prize and the hunter who catches the most pythons will receive a $1,500 cash prize. It’s not just the hunters cashing in on the snakes though - shop owners that are turning the slithering serpents into accessories are making quite a profit, with a pair of python pants retailing at around $1,800 a pair!
“The snakes have become a problem because they're invasive,” said Brian Wood, co-owner of Exotic Leather Fashions in Florida. “It just seemed natural for us to go ahead and start buying the snakes from the hunters and utilizing them in our fashions.”
It is unknown how many Burmese pythons live in the Everglades but roughly 2,050 snakes have been harvested in the Sunshine State since 2000.
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