MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – For a small fee and a 30-minute quiz, South Floridians can actively participate in a “bowl” game that kicks off just before the Super Bowl heads to Miami.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hosted media Thursday for a pre-game scrimmage for the Florida Python Challenge 2020 “Python Bowl,” which will give professional and rookie snake catchers the chance to compete to see who can catch the most and biggest snakes starting Jan. 10.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took a handoff of a custom, first-of-a-kind python-skin football before addressing the media, stressing the importance of programs like this to protect the Florida Everglades.
“The problem with (Burmese pythons) is that they are not native to this area and decimate the natural food chain,” DeSantis said.
CLICK HERE to watch Ian Margol trap a python.
The Burmese python can grow up to 26-feet in length and weigh roughly 200 pounds, according to FWC officials. The non-venomous reptiles tend to hunt and kill native mammals, birds and other reptiles, including the federally endangered Key Largo woodrat.
Following DeSantis’ address, media members were then invited to participate in a hands-on learning experience on the proper catching technique, which includes neutralizing the head of the snake, grabbing it with a free hand and placing it in a bag.
Also joining DeSantis and FWC officials were members from the South Florida Water Management District and the Frost Museum of Science.
Additionally, Miami Super Bowl LIV Host Committee members were on hand as this year’s challenge ties into Super Bowl LIV and the committee’s Oceans to Everglades initiative.
Snake catchers are competing for prizes across several categories and there is a special class dedicated to members who served in the armed forces.