(FLORIDA EVERGLADES) — The Annual Python Challenge kicks off Saturday, August 6th, in South Florida.
The ten-day event takes place in the Everglades where the snakes have taken over by the thousands devouring wildlife and disrupting the delicate ecosystem. Pythons have no natural predators except for humans who must catch them with their bare hands because no firearms are allowed in the competition.
Air guns may be used to humanely kill captured pythons during daylight hours only. The use of a gun and light at night is prohibited. Artificial light, such as flashlights, may be used at night to aid in locating and capturing pythons.
Burmese pythons are native to Southeast Asia and were first introduced into the Florida Everglades in the late 1970s, and they have reproduced at an astronomical level since.
The non-venomous Burmese python poses a threat to Florida’s native wildlife and is larger than almost all native snakes, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Studies have shown pythons wiped out rabbit and fox populations in regions of Everglades National Park.
Hunters both professional and novice will fan out in South Florida to humanely capture and kill these opportunistic snakes. Competitors can work in teams, but all participants must register individually. Pythons can only be submitted under one participant’s name.
The Python Challenge allows entrants to catch Burmese pythons with the potential to win money for the “most caught” and “longest snake.”
The current record is almost 19-feet.
Hunters who capture the most pythons can earn up to $2500.
Last year’s hunters removed only 223 invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades. It is believed there are more than 100,000 pythons slithering around the Everglades, put there mostly by previous pet owners who could no longer care for the snakes.
The python removal competition begins at 8:00 a.m. on August 5, 2022 and ends at 5 p.m. on August 14, 2022. Register now!