Florida: Annual Python Elimination Challenge 2022: Hundreds of Snake Hunters Gather in Florida

Snakes have been a severe challenge to wildlife and ecosystem in various parts of the globe. Florida is one of those states where the Burmese python has been wreaking havoc for many years.

In a place where raccoons, deer, foxes and opossums were once plentiful, there are hardly any left due to the invasion of Burmese pythons. However, since 2013, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has held an annual event to address the threat of snakes harming the ecosystem.

August 5 marked the start of the annual python hunting challenge. This year, more than 800 hunters have gathered in Miami for the competition and will scour the Florida Everglades until August 15 in search of Burmese pythons.

Cash Prize and Statistics

There are two categories for the prize money; one is for novices and the other is for professionals. Entrants who hunt as many pythons as possible can win up to $2,500 in these two categories, plus additional prizes for hunting the longest python.

The only condition is that every python must be killed and that too, humanely, without killing any native snake, otherwise the hunter will be disqualified.

Since
2,000, more than 17,000 pythons have been removed from the Florida Everglades ecosystem. Last year, hunters killed more than 200 pythons during the competition, in addition to elimination efforts throughout the year.

Burmese pythons are not native to Florida and generally feed on mammals, birds, and other reptiles. They multiply faster, as a single female python can produce up to 100 eggs per year.

Less than two months earlier in Florida, a team of biologists captured a 215-pound, 18-foot-long female python with 122 developing eggs. It was the largest Burmese python ever captured in Florida history.

Hunters have gathered in 32 states across the United States and Canada, and entries will continue throughout the competition. To be eligible, participants must complete an online training course while registration costs USD 25 per person.

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