Christie: Is that panther ‘photo bombing’ that python hunter?

Dusty “Wildman” Crum caught this 16-foot-10-inch Burmese python in the South Florida Water Management District’s experimental python hunt. The snake had 73 eggs. (Photo courtesy, South Florida Water Management District)

C’mon, admit it… You did a double-take didn’t you?

That display photo of python hunter Dusty “Wildman” Crum with a 10-foot-10-inch snake draped around his neck on the Post’s Sunday Local front apparently had a lot of folks squinting, or running for their reading glasses.

Moreover, several of them decided to write letters to the editor about the eyebrow-raising pic and ask questions.

Like this short-and-sweet one from Lisa Stewart of Lake Worth:

“Did anyone notice a panther walking past the man who was posing with a dead python?”

Well, yes we did.

And others wondered why the curious-looking panther that appears to be casually strolling behind Crum wasn’t even mentioned in either the photo caption or the story.

What happened to the panther, they wanted to know.

The simple answer is that it’s not a real panther.

That’s right. According to the South Florida Water Management District, the photo of Crum — who participated in the SFWMD’s experimental python hunt — was taken in front of a display at an airboat vendor’s establishment on Tamiami Trail.

By the way, the program, which pays hunters minimum wage plus bonuses, is expected to get a green light to continue at this week’s SFWMD board meeting.

“It’s been a great success,” said Pete Antonacci, executive director of the South Florida Water Management District. “You don’t want to lose momentum when something good is happening.”

Agreed. But seriously, where can we find that cool mural?


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