MIAMI – Florida’s First Lady Casey DeSantis was on hand to kick off the annual Florida Python Challenge in the Everglades.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s 10-day competition is designed to help eradicate the thousands of Burmese pythons that have become well-established in South Florida.
“This is significant because every python removed is one less invasive species preying on our native birds, mammals and reptiles,” said DeSantis.
Cash prizes are offered to hunters in two categories – longest python captured and most pythons removed. Participants can register as novices or professionals. Separate prizes will be awarded for each category. Special recognition and prizes will be given to veterans and active members of our armed services.
Competitors can work in teams, but all participants must register individually.
The cost to participate in the hunt is $25.
Competitors can only remove Burmese pythons from participating areas. Only Burmese pythons removed from these areas will be considered valid entries in the competition.
The contest runs through 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 14th.
Burmese pythons can grow up to 30 feet in length, the average size removed in Florida is eight to 10 feet. A female can lay 50 to 100 eggs per year. In Florida, they can no longer be acquired as personal pets.
More than 16,000 snakes have been removed since 2000.