Vol. 278 April 1, 2023 DeSantis on Florida’s Python Paradise

March 31, 2023

“DeSantis in Iowa calls Florida the ‘promised land’, a ‘citadel of freedom’, and a ‘refuge of sanity’— Boston Globe , March 15, 2023

“Pythons Head North From the Everglades” — Boston Globe, March 15, 2023

Carl Hiaasen of The Miami Herald and author of “Squeeze Me” interviews Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Hiaasen: First of all, thank you for speaking to me today. Did you read my 2020 book, Squeeze Me, about a wealthy matron who disappears mysteriously from her lawn party and is traced to an eccentric, retired Florida Governor who raises and releases giant pythons? It was kind of a “wake up” call about the python situation in Florida.
Gov. DeSantis: “What? . . . No way. .  . . I banned it . . .  clearly a ’woke’ book. . . and with a title like that it was probably pornographic as well”.

Hiaasen: The US Geological Survey just released a report that Burmese pythons which were first seen in the Everglades in 2000 are now as long as 15 feet and weigh up to 200 pounds, and no one really knows how they got into the Everglades.
Gov. DeSantis: “No surprise there. Burma is near China, right? I think the snakes may have come through DisneyWorld. As part of my cancelling the state’s special agreement with Walt Disney Inc., I am demanding the immediate closure of the Nine Dragons restaurant there as the likely source of the leak.”

Hiassen: The pythons have appeared now in West Palm Beach, Fort Myers, Naples, and even the western outskirts of Miami. One was tracked traveling 2.43 kilometers in one day.
Gov. DeSantis: “. . . that’s about 3 miles isn’t it?,  . . . how long is a day in metrics? We have to slow those racing monsters down. I heard the FBI found a snake at Mar-a-Lago.”

Hiaasen: The  report speculates that South Florida’s extensive network of canals and levees may facilitate long-distance movement by the pythons which are eating Florida’s native animals, wading birds, marsh rabbits, and even white-tailed deer.
Gov. DeSantis: “I know what kind of ‘long-distance movement’ I could give those snakes. I’d fly them up North where they could remove some of Martha’s Vineyard deer that carry Lyme . . .  and Beberebozosis . . .  might help suburban Boston’s  coyote problem too. . . . but, alligators in New York City, not so much.”

Hiaasen: Despite two decades of incentivizing private bounty hunters to remove as many snakes as they can during a state-sponsored annual python hunt, the pythons are flourishing.  In addition to paying an hourly rate to python hunters during the annual hunt, Florida pays $50 per foot for the first 4 feet of the snake and $25 for each subsequent foot. Last year’s winner took home $10,000 for killing 28 pythons.
Gov. DeSantis: “That makes perfect sense. The first 4 feet contain the head, its most dangerous part. Our reimbursement rates are obviously much better than Obamacare.”

 Hiaasen:  Hunters must use humane methods such as a knife, a machete, a stun gun, or other manual mechanical means to kill the snakes.They are NOT allowed to use firearms during the hunt.
Gov. DeSantis: “How ridiculous is that? . . . They can use guns to remove pythons all the rest of the year. We must allow year-round open carry of automatic weapons!”

Hiaasen: Billions of governmental dollars have been spent in trying to restore the Everglades which has resulted in more than 139 non-native invasive species flourishing there. The Burmese python must be reproducing in the wild.
Gov. DeSantis: “ . . . At least they’re hetero.  Trump is probably afraid of snakes, so I’d offer him a separate plane to NYC for his arrest. . . Biden doesn’t have a clue. I’m proud that we’re removing all school books that mention reproduction.”

Hiaasen: Pythons, like iguanas, have been reported actually entering private homes through toilets.
Gov. DeSantis: “Thank God for our ‘Stand Your Ground’ law allowing use of deadly force to protect your home. Ties in well with an open-carry policy. My administration is all about YOUR safety. “Keep Americans Safe Always” (KASA) is my 2024 slogan. It fits nicely on a baseball cap and  should appeal to Hispanic voters.”


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