I think most people are familiar with the Burmese python problem that's been a part of the Everglades for some time now. In short, these pythons can get to massive sizes (can reach 26 feet). The accidental or intentional release of these pythons (Different stories of how this became a problem. Believed to have originated when a storm hit a breeding facility and hatch-lings escaped. Also, people have been reported releasing these pets into the wild when they become too large to handle) has spawned a threat to the ecosystem. Their size and power makes them top predators, they've been seen taking on gators, and are posing a threat to many indigenous species in the area who aren't designed to survive such a threat. These snakes can, at adult size (reached by age 4), effortlessly kill children, dogs, coyotes,etc; They can quickly overpower human adults.
Now, efforts are being made by the scientific community to rid the Glades of these pythons, but the good ol' state of Florida is also doing it's part.
The 2013 Python Challenge
Kill Snakes; Acquire Money
This weekend, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission kicked off the 2013 Python Challenge in Davie, Florida, a smallish city near Fort Lauderdale. The Python Challenge registers python hunters and gives cash prizes to those who can gather the most--or the biggest--pythons.
. The Everglades is a quarter of its natural size and nowhere near as healthy as it should be. And the Burmese python is one of the worst invasive species in the entire country.
Nearly 800 people signed up for the month-long "Python Challenge" that started Saturday afternoon. The vast majority – 749 – are members of the general public who lack the permits usually required to harvest pythons on public lands.
The contest will last a month.
My thoughts: It's a beautiful creature, but some people do not deserve pets that can reach this sheer size and power. Owning such a pet comes with a great deal of responsibility, and needs both ample amounts of funding to meet their dietary and housing requirements and the skill and know-how to not get hurt when handling them.