Florida Python Hunt: People Kill Deadly Snakes With Screwdrivers, Bolt Guns

Forget Saturday morning cartoons. People in the great state of Florida are spending their weekend hunting pythons for money!

More than 800 brave souls are scouring the Florida Everglades in search of invasive Burmese pythons in a Florida tradition that dates back nearly a decade.

The annual Florida python hunt began Friday and runs through 5 p.m. Aug. 15. Why does such a thing exist?

According to a release, Burmese pythons aren’t native to Florida, prey on birds, mammals and other reptiles, and a female can lay as many as 100 eggs a year.

This insane challenge includes cash prizes of up to $2,500 for those who remove the most pythons and there are additional prizes for the longest python in each category. Each python must be dead when presented and hunters could be disqualified if they kill them inhumanely.

Rick Mayo looks on as Robert Edman gives a python-catching demonstration before potential snake hunters at the start of the Python Bowl. (Getty Images)

Python Hunt Rules

Let’s take a peek at the official website for some rule highlights:

  • The use of firearms to take pythons during this competition is prohibited.
  • Air guns may be used to humanely kill captured pythons during daylight hours only.
  • The use of a gun and light at night is prohibited. Artificial light, such as flashlights, may be used at night to aid in locating and capturing pythons.
  • Taking pythons with an air gun on, from, or across levees or the right-of-way of roads is prohibited.
  • Captive bolt guns may be used to humanely kill pythons at any time of day or night.
  • Road-killed Burmese pythons are not counted towards the competition.
  • Snake hooks, snake tongs, snake bags, noose poles and long-handled non-motorized tools may be used to capture Burmese pythons by hand.
  • Use of traps, bait, explosives, chemicals, smoke and motorized tools to capture pythons is prohibited.
Tom Rahill, founder of Swamp Apes, handles a female Burmese python at the Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale. (RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images)

Biggest question here? If you were trudging through the Everglades and came upon a massive python that could kill you, how would you defend yourself?

You have to kill it humanely, can’t use a firearm, explosives or chemicals, and you can’t set up a trap.

If you do some more digging (don’t worry, I did it for you), you’ll find a handy guide on the best way to humanely kill these beasts.

The recommended “two-step method” includes a shot to the brain with a captive bolt stunner, which knocks the python out, followed by a direct stab to the brain using “a small rod (a rigid metal tool like a screwdriver, spike or pick.”

Easy enough!

MIAMI, FL – JANUARY 29: Edward Mercer holds a Burmese Python during a press conference in the Florida Everglades. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Unless you’re out in the wild right now reading this while on the prowl, you’re probably not currently signed up for the hunt. Well, good news for you … registration is still open!

If you have an extra $25 to spare, wanna make some real money and do some good at the same time, head down to the Everglades, grab yourself a screwdriver and get to work.

Written by Zach Dean

Zach grew up in Florida, lives in Florida, and will never leave Florida ... for obvious reasons. He's a reigning fantasy football league champion, knows everything there is to know about NASCAR, and once passed out (briefly!) during a lap around Daytona. He swears they were going 200 mph even though they clearly were not.

2 Comments

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  1. They are an invasive species that is decimating the native wildlife. F ‘em, kill them all.
    Humanely kill them? Who cares, just get rid of them. In my state, coyotes are considered nuisances. We can kill them 24/7. Use any weapon you choose. We will never be able to eradicate them. You will never solve your snake problem by creating rules of engagement. Most snakes are beneficial to the food chain, but not these.

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