Snake hunting, anyone?

Joe Patrice, over at Above the Law, made me laugh out loud with this: “Florida, the national leader in providing reasons why America can’t have nice things…”

But then he goes on to talk about how Flori-duh is sponsoring a great Burmese Python hunt, in the Everglades, with machetes and guns! There are even PRIZES! A $1,500 prize to whoever kills the most, and $1,000 to whoever kills the longest one.

Sure, its not a lot of money. It wouldn’t even be worth sending my law clerk out there, at her billable rate. But sweet christ on a cracker, swinging machetes through a swamp on a mission to kill huge prehistoric sized snakes that could, theoretically, eat you?

That sounds like fun to me.

Personally, I think that we should just let “invasive” species run wild. I really do not see the problem here. At one time, every species on earth was “invasive.” Where the hell did we get the idea that we need to freeze every ecosystem in the state it was in at some fixed point in time?

But, if the powers that be say “go out in the swamp with machetes to hack the heads off 400 lb snakes,” then I just might take some vacation time!

10 Responses to Snake hunting, anyone?

  1. Stephen says:

    George Carlin already explained this.

  2. Ancel De Lambert says:

    They’ve got a LOT of snakes. Can I use a shotgun?

  3. SharealittleSunshine says:

    Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every once in a while. And even Florida gets it right every now and then.

    • But is it right? What’s the big deal if we have tons of huge awesome snakes there?

      • andrews says:

        The snakes eat things which we like better than we like the snakes. And, since they have few natural predators, their numbers and collective appetite grow.

      • Gadriel says:

        Well, I can tell you why it’s a big deal. I’m an environmental educator by trade, so I apologize for the somewhat long winded explanation, but this is actually somewhat short for an introduction to invasive species.

        The best example that I can somewhat easily explain is a tree we have growing here in Northern Minnesota. It’s called Common Buckthorn. It originally came from Scandinavia, Norway, that part of the world. Over 100 years ago, someone brought it over here because it has traditionally made a very good privacy hedge, and people like using what they’re familiar with, so it became hugely popular.

        Fast forward to today, and buckthorn is a huge problem. It shades out other plant life, it’s terribly hard to remove, and it has next to no economical value associated with it. There are parks in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area that are nothing but these trees, since they have shaded out everything else that would grow underneath them (like grasses, or new trees, the only thing that will grow is more buckthorn). And with no natural limits on its growth, they will continue to expand and completely take over our forests. Now, nature may adapt, but that will take hundreds, if not thousands of years.

        How does this apply to these snakes? Well, they’re very similar in that there are no natural predators in this environment that have the special skill set to control the snake population. It will continue to grow and grow until the only thing left in the Everglades is giant snakes. Tourism will plummet (because who wants to take the family to a place where the only local wildlife is liable to eat you), murder by snake will increase (just kidding, but they’re the only group I could think of wanting to take the family to someplace like that), and the local ecology of the Everglades will be totally destroyed.

        And it goes further than that. In a worst case scenario, it could even devolve into the wide-scale destruction of southern Florida. Snakes eat bird species A, who happened to be the only pollinator of grass species B, which just so happens to be the best prevention of erosion in the Everglades. And suddenly, the best flood protection that southern Florida has is gone, and bit by bit, Florida disappears with the tide.

        Now, this is all completely hypothetical, but is pretty close to what is happening in northern Minnesota. Our forests are slowly disappearing to buckthorn, affecting our logging industry, our hunting industry, and even our farming industry. Combined, all of those equal billions of dollars worth our livelihoods, all destroyed because of one little shrub.

  4. Donald's Rump™ says:

    Marc, as you so effectively pointed out in your recent post, “A Christmas Miracle . . .,” there is authoritative case law setting binding precedent for this: the proposition of going after some snakes with a machete – referring to, of course, the butchering of Abraham’s tube snake . . .

    Upon further reflection, it is a self-evident truth that not all snakes are created equal . . .

  5. Jimbo says:

    They are eating all the other awesome apex predators in the area. Only we are allowed to that.

  6. just me says:

    Because those tons of big awesome snakes are eating tons of other wildlife, with nothing to hold them in check once they get past the size that the regular snake-eating critters would eat.

    It’ll really suck if after all that work and time that has been put into helping the Florida panther, Key Deer, and a whole slew of other species recover ends up ruined by snakes eating the population back down to critical. If the rabbit population in the worst areas really has crashed (to the point that none are seen on the transect surveys), then things that eat those rabbits are in serious trouble.

    Some critters, like turtles, might have a bit of a benefit since the snakes seem to be wiping out the raccoons and rats that eat turtle eggs. But hawks and other creatures that eat rabbits – another animal that is supposed to be getting nearly wiped out by the snakes – will find themselves in serious trouble food-wise.

    It’s a wildlife biologist’s nightmare-come-true to have those things expanding pretty much unchecked in the Everglades. Unlike the areas in their native lands where the snakes are actually threatened by overhunting, the Everglades population can’t be easily accessed by hunters outside of certain areas.

    I don’t see the bounty and hunting days having much of an effect upon the inaccessible areas of the park. But it’ll be good to have that kind of activity slowing or hopefully preventing their spread elsewhere in the state. It’d suck to have to worry about your kid or dog in the fenced back yard getting attacked by a snake.

  7. The snakes are big enough to eat small children. They can climb in windows and slither up stairs. You need more reasons?

    I like the part where the rules exclude entering road kill. Sweet God in heaven, you have to worry about running into these things crossing the road?

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