State issues 'Python Challenge'

Cash prizes are up for grabs

Published On: Dec 05 2012 12:04:30 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 05 2012 12:08:28 PM EST
python
THE EVERGLADES, Fla. -

Snake hunters can make serious money if they win the '2013 Python Challenge' starting next year.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced the challenge on Wednesday.

The FWC said that beginning on Jan. 12, the public and python permit holders will compete to see who can harvest the longest and most Burmese pythons.

"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 FWC will hand out $1,500 to the hunter who harvests the most Burmese pythons and $1,000 to the hunter who catches the longest snake.

So far, the largest Burmese python documented in Florida was more than 17 feet in length.

Florida prohibits possession or sale of Burmese pythons for use as pets, and federal law bans the importation and interstate sale of this species.