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FIND A JOBFIND A RIDEFIND REAL ESTATEADVERTISEE-EDITION | MANAGE YOUR ACCOUNT | SUBSCRIBESUNDAY, JULY 19, 2009 HOMELOCALBUSINESSSPORTSRACINGENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLEOPINIONCOMMUNITYCLASSIFIEDS VIDEOSHEADLINESDATADIRECTFLORIDANATION/WORLDDEATHSPOLITICSENVIRONMENTWEATHERTRAFFICVIDEOSPHOTOSSPECIAL REPORTSPAGE TOOLS RSS feeds | � Reprint permissionsMOST POPULAR STORIES��Snakebite victim home, weighs lawsuit��Two women dead in separate West Volusia crashes��Standoff at apartments ends peacefully��GM cancels Daytona Speedway sponsorshipAP BREAKING NEWS��Former UN auditor awarded damages for harassment��Police: Man reluctantly robs Utah snow cone stand��Dolores weakens to storm remnant in Pacific��Economy means more help needed to flee hurricanes��States awash in stimulus money to weatherize homesAP VIDEOJuly 19, 2009Snakes on the 'cane!By MARK LANEFOOTNOTEThat the Sunshine State is home to deadly creatures of immense size that might kill or ignore us with equal indifference is central to The Great Florida Myth.It nicely backs up the belief that here nature is bigger, more exotic and out of control than wherever it was you said you came from.This belief beckons the tourist with the promise of adventure.

And it is slyly encouraged by locals who understand that fear of the Florida outdoors keeps our natural areas less crowded and encourages visitors to keep the second part of their roundtrip tickets.As a journalist based in The Shark Attack Capital of the World, on the eastern end of the lightning-strike belt, your correspondent enjoys talking up the dangers that lurk in every corner of his home.

And how, moving east to west, one faces sharks, alligators and bears.Now, we may add giant killer pythons to the catalog.

These creatures have found a home here in numbers that are anybody's guess.U.S.


Bill Nelson has offered the estimate of 100,000 pythons in the Everglades.

A number that has become an established fact from sheer media repetition."Lord forbid, a visitor in the Everglades ever encounters one," Nelson warned in a letter to the Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar.

Nelson was calling on Salazar to authorize a large-scale python hunt."We need to get a grip on pythons invading America's Everglades," he declared.Gov.

Charlie Crist picked up the cause and ordered state snake seekers (say that fast, three times) into state lands near the Everglades.Burmese pythons are, as their name implies, not from around here.

Over the years, they've made their way into the Everglades, either by accident or being dumped there by owners.Anyone who has read Carl Hiaasen's novel, "Stormy Weather," has a vivid image of the way in 1992 Hurricane Andrew dumped all manner of exotic animals into the welcoming swamps.

This also served as kind of a metaphor for the populating of Florida.The reptiles have already likely reached the sugarcane fields -- snakes on the 'cane!The python hunt got under way Friday, but don't expect a handful of herpetologists in hip boots to save us from the invaders or take this out of the news.Soon, this will be just one of those things people will ask you about when they find out you're from Florida.

Like the 2000 election, sharks, poodle-eating alligators and hurricanes.Plus, it has political traction."There's one way to do this: Kill the snakes," Sen.

Nelson wrote the Miami Herald last week, sounding a lot like the guy in the last reels of a horror movie who at last understands the Menace We Now Face.In a political season dominated by complex debates over macroeconomic theory, restructuring of health care and the science and economics of global warming, it's good to hear a phrase with the clarity of "kill the snakes."Both Crist and Nelson have keenly developed ears for issues that are visceral, easy to grasp and offer opportunities for quick response.

Even if the quick response is mostly symbolic.

It's no surprise that they discovered the Snake Invasion Issue almost simultaneously.This could be big.

And nobody would want to be seen as soft on invading snakes when the negative political ad season [email protected] NEWS��Front page��Local��Florida��Nation/World��Deaths��Politics��Beach / Environment��Weather��Noticias en Espa�ol��CorrectionsMULTIMEDIA��Photos | Videos��Beach cam��Special ReportsDATADIRECT��Map of local murders��Missing children alerts��Traffic cams��Area gas prices��More...BUSINESS��Headlines��Stocks��Market Summary��Local Watchlist��Mutual Funds��Your Portfolio��Deeds & Permits��TechnologySPORTS��Headlines��Racing��Prep sports��College��Salt & Sun��Today in Sports��Sports ColumnsENTERTAINMENT & LIFESTYLE��Headlines��TV Listings��Movies��Music��Events Calendar��Crosswords���Food & Dining��Dining Guide��Health��Religion��Home & Garden��TravelOPINION��Editorials��Letters��Cartoons��Columns��Blogs��Podcasts ��Advanced search��Online & print archives��Site index��Buy photosNJ YOUR WAY: �Subscribe to the Print Edition | E-Edition | E-mail | RSS | Mobile | MySpace | Twitter| Facebook� 2009 News-Journal�Corporation�� |�� (SM)�� |�� Our privacy policy�� |�� Terms of Service�� | ��Subscriptions�� | ��Archives�� | ��Help �� | ��Contact Us
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