MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference Thursday morning in the Everglades to kick off the start of registration for the 2021 Python Challenge.
“As part of my focus on restoring the Everglades, I’ve charged FWC with dedicating more resources and taking innovative approaches to removing invasive Burmese pythons, which can grow to 20 feet in length, weigh up to 200 pounds and cause major damage to (the) ecosystem,” DeSantis said.
This year’s challenge, which is aimed at “empowering people to take an active role in conserving the Florida Everglades through invasive species removal,” will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday, July 9 and will end on Sunday, July 18.
“The Python Challenge is to remove as many snakes as we can, but also to educate the public on how to safely remove a snake and how to notify the FWC or South Florida Water Management if you see a python and you don’t have the ability to remove it,” Everglades conservationist Ron Bergeron said.
Only Burmese pythons may be removed and killed from participating areas to be considered as valid entries in the competition.
Participants can register either as a novice or professional. Those who register as professionals are often paid by the host agencies to remove pythons from the Everglades.
Prizes will be awarded in both categories to those who catch the most and longest pythons.
Additional awards will be provided to veterans and active members of the armed forces.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Burmese pythons are native to Asia, from eastern India through Vietnam and southern China.
They are a large nonvenomous constrictor that is an invasive species in Florida. They are primarily found in and around the Everglades, where the snake is threatening native wildlife.
CLICK HERE for more information about this year’s python challenge and how you can register.