- Burmese pythons threaten Florida wildlife and are generally larger than any native snakes.
- The Burmese python is a non-venomous large constrictor that is an invasive species in Florida.
- The Florida Python Challenge aims to raise awareness of Burmese pythons and curb a growing population.
Hunters, enthusiasts, experts and spectators will descend on the Everglades and take on the Florida Python Challenge – an annual event to combat the invasive Burmese python.
The non-venomous Burmese python poses a threat to native Florida wildlife and is larger than nearly all native snakes, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Studies have shown that pythons wiped out rabbit and fox populations in areas of Everglades National Park.
The commission says hunters can humanely catch and kill Burmese pythons upon capture during the 10-day competition, which begins Friday.
The Challenge is a conservation effort aimed at raising awareness of the threat pythons pose to the ecosystem.
Besides bragging rights, the person who kills the most pythons or kills the python the longest can win a range of substantial cash prizes (more on that below).
Here are some of the best photos from the event over the years.
What are the Florida Python Challenge prize amounts?
The first place winner for the most pythons receives a cash prize of $2,500. Second place wins $750.
The longest grand prize in python is worth $1,500. Second place also wins $750.
What do Burmese pythons look like?
The pythons are tan in color with dark markings and live primarily in and around the Everglades in South Florida, according to the commission.
Burmese pythons in Florida are typically between 6 and 10 feet long, although they can grow to over 20 feet.
When was the largest python ever caught in Florida?
In June, biologists captured the state’s largest python – a female with a record 122 eggs and the remains of an adult white-tailed deer in her abdomen – weighing 215 pounds and measuring almost 18 feet long. , reported the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
Native snakes are often misidentified as pythons
- eastern diamond
- red rat snake
- eastern indigo snake
- water snakes
Camille Fine is a Trending Visual Producer on USA TODAY’s NOW team.