The big Everglades python hunt starts Saturday and, so far, 670 people have signed up for the fun and a chance at cash prizes.
Among them is our intrepid U. S. Senator, Bill Nelson. He and a companion -- described in the Tampa Bay Times as a "rancher from Davie" -- will strap on pistols and machetes on Thursday to go after the huge Burmese pythons that Nelson has worried so much about, occasionally to the amusement of his Senate colleagues.
But few are disputing the ecological issue posed by the snakes as they overrun the Everglades, displacing native species and disrupting the food chain.
Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin says his boss has never lost sight of the problem and a guy with Nelson's roots is a natural to go hands-on with the pythons. “Bill doesn’t mind the heat, the mosquitoes, the alligators and the poisonous snakes. It puts him in touch with natural Florida,” McLaughlin said.
The hunt will proceed over the next month. At the end, somebody will win $1,000 for bagging the longest python. The grand prize -- $1,500 -- will go to whoever gets the most pythons.