Florida python hunt 2016 Python Challenge™ Hunt Launched in Florida
As reported by CNN, over 600 hunters are authorized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FCW) to hunt Burmese pythons in south Florida through February 14.
The hunter team which kills or captures the most of these giant snakes, which can grow up to 23 feet long and weigh over 200 pounds, will win $5,000. The single hunter with the most will receive $3,500.
The team which brings in the longest snake will collect $3,000. The individual who snags the longest snake will take home $1,000.
2016 Python Challenge™ officials are asking hunters to take on the giant snakes with their hands. Although large, Burmese pythons easily hide in thick underbrush.
The Burmese python is native to Southeast Asia, not Florida. State officials say in 1992 Hurricane Andrew destroyed a breeding facility, releasing the snakes into the Florida ecosphere.
However, Florida’s climate does offer the python a hospitable environment in which to thrive, especially the Everglades.
Unfortunately, the python is “wreaking havoc” on the Everglades according to U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt in a 2012 report.
The pythons are devouring rabbits, opposums and raccoons.
Its only natural enemy is the American alligator, and they aren’t keeping the Burmese python’s numbers in check.
In 2013 the first Python Challenge™ eliminated 68 of the snakes, but the pythons still threaten the native species in the Everglades.