Coronavirus: Florida shop owner makes face coverings from skin of Burmese pythons

DANIA BEACH, Fla. — There is a demand for face coverings due to the coronavirus pandemic. In Florida, there is a demand to get rid of the Burmese python, an invasive nonvenomous species that is a threat in the Everglades.

It’s a perfect marriage.

Brian Wood, owner of All American Gator Products in Dania Beach for 34 years, has created decorative face coverings from the skin of the Burmese python, The Miami Herald reported.

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“People are going to have to cover their faces, and unfortunately the situation may last longer than we imagined,” Wood, 63, told the newspaper. "Some people want to make a fashion statement even during this pandemic, so I want to give them options.”

Wood, who sells alligator meat to restaurants, was searching for something to do when the coronavirus shut down eateries and limited his options.

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“We were kind of bored,” Wood told Cox Media Group on Monday. “All of a sudden I came up with an idea.”

That idea was the face covering. And the prototype was created from an unusual source.

“The first one I made was out of my wife’s bra,” Wood told Cox Media Group.

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The design is a little less personal now. Wood told Cox Media Group the face coverings are crafted from “hypoallergenic soft shell silicone,” with the python skin stretched across the shell. He added that he hunts the pythons and also buys them from the hunters who are python removal agents.

Wood’s face covering does not provide total protection from COVID-19, but his design is adaptable enough for customers to insert a changeable filter or lining, the Herald reported.

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The cost? For a mask made from Burmese python or invasive green lizard skin, it’s $90. Alligator face coverings will cost $120, according to All American Gator Products’ Facebook page.

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“The designs are still in the early stages and I want to take advantage of the supply we have here not only of python skin, but also alligator" and invasive iguanas, Wood told the Herald.

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