Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Snake Hunters Rewarded $1,500 For Pythons

Florida Wants To Kill Off Pythons - Offers Prizes

LABELLE, FL. Florida snake hunters are being invited to find the longest and most Burmese pythons and get bounties of up to $1,500.

As part of the Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission's "Python Challenge" both the public and Florida’s python permit holders are asked to seek out big snakes for cash prizes.

Grand prizes of $1,500 for harvesting the most Burmese pythons will be awarded to winners of both the General Competition and the Python Permit Holders Competition, with additional $1,000 prizes for the longest Burmese python harvested in both competitions. 

The largest Burmese python documented in Florida was more than 17 feet in length. Florida currently prohibits possession or sale of Burmese pythons for use as pets, and federal law bans the importation and interstate sale of this species.

The FWC's goal is to increase public awareness about Burmese pythons and how this invasive species is a threat to the Everglades ecosystem in South Florida, including native wildlife.

On January 12, the Python Challenge™ Kickoff will initiate a month-long program of harvesting Burmese pythons from public lands, and the public can see and learn more about these large constrictors, says the FWC. 

The kickoff is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Florida’s Fort Lauderdale Research & Education Center, which will hold its invasive species open house that day.

“The FWC is encouraging the public to get involved in helping us remove Burmese pythons from public lands in south Florida,” said Kristen Sommers, head of the FWC’s Exotic Species Coordination Section. “By enlisting both the public and Florida’s python permit holders in a month-long competitive harvesting of Burmese pythons, we hope to motivate more people to find and harvest these large, invasive snakes. The Python Challenge gives people a chance to sign up for a competition to see who can catch the longest or the most pythons.

“Part of the goal of the Python Challenge is to educate the public to understand why nonnative species like Burmese pythons should never be released into the wild and encourage people to report sightings of exotic species,” Sommers said. “We also expect the competitive harvesting of Burmese pythons to result in additional information on the python population in south Florida and enhance our research and management efforts.”

Complete information on the Python Challenge™, including how to train and register for the competitions and more about upcoming south Florida events, is available at

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