Call all snake hunters – Florida opens registration for this year’s Python Challenge

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Ever wanted to be a snake hunter in the Florida Everglades? Now’s your chance.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that registration is open for the U.S. Python Challenge 2022 at a press conference in the Everglades on Thursday. He said predatory snakes, which devour all species of native wildlife, could undo the billions of dollars spent on restoration.

“These pythons are a threat to the Everglades,” he said. “It’s just unbelievable what they’ll devastate when they’re there.”

The Python challenge is one of several creative ways the state is trying to tackle the huge snake problem. Florida also pays professional python hunters to roam the meadows, with some using infrared cameras or python-sniffing dogs to pursue a career.

It is difficult to understand how much of a dent this makes.

There are about 100,000 to 300,000 snakes that roam the Everglades, where they thrive after pet owners released them in the 1980s. They don’t have you there natural predators and can be played back quickly. Females can lay up to 100 eggs a year.

During last year’s challenge, hunters removed 232 pythons from wetlands. In 2020, they caught 80.

At a news conference Thursday, DeSantis said about 16,000 pythons had been caught in “modern recorded history,” 8,000 of which had been captured during his term as governor.

“This challenge allows the public to engage, guide, work with the restoration of the Everglades. “You can win prizes and, of course, you will be doing a public service,” he said.

The Python challenge starts in August. 5-14. Hunters are paid $ 1,500 for each python killed money prize for the longest caught python and a prize of $ 2,500 for the most pythons caught.

That’s a sharp drop from last year, when the hunter who caught the most snakes collected $ 10,000.

Hunters can register at FLpythonchallenge.org. There is a $ 25 registration fee and a mandatory online training course.


Everglades Victory: 5,000 pythons removed in state-sponsored capture program


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