2013 Python Challenge; Is Hunting A 26 Foot Python Worth The Cash Prize?

By Staff Writer on January 13, 2013 1:31 PM EST

Bermese Python, Deadly Everglades Invader, 2013 Python Challenge
Bermese Pythons over run the Everglades causing 800 people to join the 2012 Python Challenge (Photo: Reuters)

Deadly everglades invader causes nearly 800 volunteers to sift through the swampy areas in hopes of reducing the number of pythons.

Sounds crazy right? Well, not for Florida natives it isn't. They have had enough with the vast numbers of scaly creatures slithering around their communities causing destruction.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and its partners have launched the 2013 Python Challenge which gives python permit holders and the general public the opportunity to stop the threatening species of the Everglades ecosystem with a month-long harvest of Burmese pythons.

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What would make people even dare step in to the swamps with one of the largest snakes in the world? Perhaps it the cash prizes the state is offering to whoever brings in the longest python in addition to whoever catches the most.

Let me just explain exactly what a Burmese Python is: a large constrictor snake that can grow up to 26 feet in length. Yes, that's right 26 FEET. These snakes are indigenous to India, China, the Malay Peninsula, and some islands of the East Indies. So how the heck did they get to Florida? According to PBS.org it could be from the international pet trade market. Animals are then accidentally or intentionally released in the wild and the reproduction begins! Pythons are well-adapted to flourish in Florida which is unfortunate for residents, their pets, and other small creatures that live in the Everglades.

Out of the 800 volunteers more than 700 of them are from the general public which meant training how to kill/capture a python was required. To get Python Challenge ready participants took a course in the Introduction of Reptile Early Detection and Documentation (REDDy) Light Training.

The training came down to staying hydrated and wearing SPF (along with not getting bitten).

"Going out into the bush in Florida is a potentially dangerous thing to do," said Stuart Pimm, a prominent Everglades scientist who is professor of conservation ecology at Duke University. "This is very, very rough terrain. Getting stuck out there without enough water could be a life-terminating experience."

However, if everyone follows 6 the training enough snakes could be killed to help the Everglades.

This crazy competition began Saturday and will end at midnight February 10th.

Now if only Florida could get Samuel L. Jackson to show up and say, "I have had enough of these m***** f****** snakes, in these m***** f****** glades!"

These are what some people had to say about the Python Challenge on Twitter:

@hitchhyker - And what is so great about murdering pythons, Florida?

@EYEOFTHETYLER61 - Bout to go to florida for a few weeks to hunt pythons! #winning #onlyinflorida

@dbremer_pxp - Time to get out of Florida. The place is being overrun by pythons! #ihatesnakes

@mRDjchel - Safely hunt pythons? No thanks. Florida tackling python problem with hunting contest.

@karenwise - Recipe for Disaster: Python challenge: Florida holds snake hunting contest.

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