Florida's Lieutenant Governor Moonlights As Snake Hunter

Carlos Lopez-Cantera has a new title to go along with Florida's Lieutenant Governor..."Snake Hunter." 

He went hunting this week with one of 25 hunters chosen by the South Florida Water Management District to get rid of non-native invasive Burmese pythons in the Everglades. 

"It came in at 15 feet, 10 inches, it weighed over a hundred pounds and it had 74 eggs inside it."

Lopez-Cantera tells us he wants to bring attention to the pilot program that wraps up on June 1. 

"They've been wreaking havoc in the ecosystem of the Everglades.  Very few predators prey on pythons. They can lay up to 84 eggs every year, so anything we can do to reduce the numbers we need to pursue because it really is making an unfortunate and detrimental impact on the Everglades ecosystem."

He made the capture with Tom Rahill, who heads up the "Swamp Apes" program, which takes veterans on hunts to remove invasive animals from the Everglades.

Hunters taking part in the South Florida Water Management District's 2 month hunt get paid minimum wage for up to 8 hours per day, along with $50 for each python measuring up to 4 feet.  An extra $25 is paid for each foot above 4 feet, plus an additional $100 for each eliminated python found with eggs.

The Lieutenant Governor also talked a bit about the state budget, which has still not been signed into law by Gov. Scott, who's unhappy about cuts in funding to the state's tourism and business incentive agencies, among other things.  

Lopez-Cantera says that Scott is reviewing it.

"He hasn't reached a decision.  He and I are both disappointed in the manner in which the Legislature went through the budget process this year.  There were a lot of decisions made in secret.  The public and even our office didn't find out about a lot of the decisions made until the press was reporting on it.  He's going to do what he does and he's going to make the decision that's best for Floridians like he always does."

The governor could sign the budget, do a line-item veto or veto the whole thing.

Photos: Carlos Lopez-Cantera/Twitter

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