Tom Rahill knows the Everglades. He has been camping, hiking, clearing trails, and "hanging out" in Florida's River of Grass for an estimated 35 years. When he sweats, Rahill says he "even smells like the Everglades." A participant in the recently-wrapped and much-maligned Python Challenge, Rahill recognizes that much of the press and public appear unimpressed with the contest's final tally of 68 snakes.
The wacky challenge that grabbed national headlines -- and perhaps more than its fair share of derision -- will come to a head Saturday morning, when the 2013 Python Challenge awards are presented in Miami.
With just a little more than a week remaining in the hunt, the 2013 Python Challenge has seen the capture and (hopefully relatively swift and painless) killing of 37 Burmese pythons in the Everglades. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission -- which is sponsoring the hunt -- announced the latest kill count on Tuesday morning via its official Facebook page.
Evidently at its wits' end over the Burmese pythons swarming the Everglades, Florida has declared a month-long snake season for armed amateurs. They'll go into the 'Glades to compete for cash prizes by killing as many as they can.
A bill that should help fix Florida's python problem is slipping out of the hands of lawmakers in Washington.
U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta, has been trying to get legislation passed that would broaden a ban on invasive species in the U.S. In effect, the bill would slow down a recent influx of invasive snakes taking over the Everglades in Florida.