A Florida man joined the new cry for 2020 fashion by making masks with the skin of iguanas and python, two exotic reptiles that are considered a pest in this state in the southeastern United States because they alter their ecosystem.
Brian Woods, a 63-year-old artisan who makes all kinds of reptile skin products, noticed that people were starting to wear increasingly creative face masks to protect themselves from the pandemic, and decided to surf the same wave.
“I took something that is very serious and turned it into a fashion show,” says Woods in his workshop in Dania Beach, 40 km north of Miami.
“It is basic but it works quite well. They seal well and you can put a filter on,” he continues, showing the ventilation holes in his reptilian masks.
They come in various colors and she sells them for $ 90 through her Facebook page, All American Gator Products.
Interestingly, he was inspired after seeing a meme where a horse wears a woman’s bodice as a mask, and asked his wife for one of her bodices to try if possible.
Snake hunter Amy Siewe arrives at the Woods house with a huge python that peels off the patio. After the skin dries, they take it to the workshop a few meters from there.
“They are not original from here. They are from Southeast Asia and are destroying the Everglades,” says the hunter, referring to the wetland that occupies much of South Florida.
“I love snakes, I like to catch them, I admire them, they are beautiful animals, but we have to kill them because there is no other option,” says the 43-year-old woman.
Pythons were introduced to Florida probably as pets at the end of the last century and, after being released into the Everglades, they thrive without a predator to hunt them down.
The Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission (FWC) encourages citizens with prizes and rewards to capture these constrictors that wreak havoc on the Floridian ecosystem.
The equally catastrophic iguanas are also not spared by Woods’ scissors and their skins will end up covering human faces, although the suitability of this material to protect against the coronavirus is in dispute.
Also initially brought as pets, they now roam freely in Florida thanks to their subtropical climate and the shortage of predators.
Last year, the FWC begged residents to kill all iguanas they see whenever possible, but preferably without cruelty.
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