More than 800 competitors have joined the hunt to reduce the impact of the invasive Burmese pythons on the Florida Everglades. Cash prizes up to $2,500 have been offered for those who kill the most (or biggest) pythons. However, the Florida Python Challenge does have some rules.
Great to kick off the 2022 Florida Python Challenge® by going out into the Everglades with Alligator Ron and other great environmental advocates to join more than 800 folks from across 32 states to hunt pythons that, unfortunately, are harming our Everglades’ ecosystem. 🐍 pic.twitter.com/hfQWK193Bt
— Casey DeSantis (@CaseyDeSantis) August 5, 2022
Competitors may be disqualified for such actions as mistakenly killing native snakes, or killing pythons in a cruel or inhumane way. The competitors are also divided into categories, such as professional or novice hunters. Furthermore, those participating must complete an online training course, and stay within prescribed areas.
The official event website overs the following guidance for killing the snakes:
Many methods are available to kill pythons. Regardless of the method you use, you must ensure the following two steps are completed to humanely kill the python:
Step 1: Your method should result in the python losing consciousness immediately.
Step 2: You should then destroy the python’s brain by “pithing” which prevents the python from regaining consciousness.
Additionally, they draw from the American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines, which can be found by clicking here.
The Florida Python Challenge has stated they plan to honor any participating veterans or active duty members of the United States Armed Forces with additional prizes.
The event ends August 14th, 2022, but registration is still open.
The effects of the python have been disastrous in Florida. The United States Geological Survey claims:
The most severe declines in native species have occurred in the remote southernmost regions of Everglades National Park, where pythons have been established the longest. In a 2012 study, populations of raccoons had dropped 99.3 percent, opossums 98.9 percent, and bobcats 87.5 percent since 1997. Marsh rabbits, cottontail rabbits, and foxes effectively disappeared.