4 min readMar 5



or…you better find a way to fix stupid


William A. Gralnick

I don’t know who is more mindless. Category one is the people who bought a Burmese python as a pet, a snake that reaches 20 feet in length and can weigh over 300 pounds. Category two is the consumer who realizing the snake can kill his family and decides to dump it into the Everglades. You’re not from Florida? Keep reading, friend.

A recent article about this invasive species in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reads like the plot line of a Stephen King novel: monster with no known predators in the US of A is breeding and spreading like rabbits. It is wiping out local animal life along with pets and at some point a child or two. The promo for the book would carry a picture from a few months back showing a python that killed and ingested an 8-foot alligator. What to do, oh what to do?

As the Brits would say, “‘tis a sticky wicket!” And indeed it is. However, many of the mother’s clutch of 50 eggs survive past childhood there’s nothing to stop them. Until then, other large snakes, hawks, and eagles pray on them but apparently not fast enough. No animal with fur or feathers is safe. The endangered Key Deer, the size of a large dog, the endangered wood stork, and even the White Tail Deer are disappearing.

A first thought would be what is the natural predator of these monsters where they come from? One is the King Cobra. I don’t think the importation of them is a great solution. So, what else?

One tactic being used in south Florida is the python hunt. We all know that Florida is a strange place in many ways. One way is that we have platoons of professional python hunters who are joined by a bunch of nuts who think tramping around amongst billions of mosquitoes, alligators, panthers, and bobcats looking for an almost unseeable snake in the dead of night, and getting prizes for their killings is fun.

Did I say unseeable? Yup. Man’s best sense is sight. The python’s best defense is amazing camouflage and the fact that they don’t move much. They stake out a territory near where animals wander for food and drink and hide, or climb a tree, curling up in the crook of its branches waiting to drop its hundreds of pound bodies on their stunned prey.

In an experiment, a two-football field area was walled off. It had pools of water, forest area, and open ground. A gaggle of people was let loose for…




Bill Gralnick, born in Brooklyn, has written over 900 op ed columns for newspapers and magazines over his 45 year career. He has published three books.