A South Florida senator who once hunted down a 9-foot Burmese python wants the state to pay private contractors to eradicate pythons and other invasive species from the Everglades.
Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles, who doubles as a python hunter, said during a committee meeting Tuesday that the effort is needed because "furry creatures" and American alligator nests are being destroyed by the voracious snakes.
Members of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources agreed and advanced the bill (SB 230) toward its final stop before heading to the full Senate.
The two-year, $600,000 pilot program would allow the state to hire python hunters to capture or kill non-native animals in public lands and waters. It would also require pet dealers to tag such animals before selling them.