Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Python Challenge is Back!

Do you want to win over $1,000?! Do you have what it takes to catch an 12 foot monster snake?!
If so you should head down to Florida because just this week the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or FWC announced that the Python Challenge is coming back in 2016! The last time Florida held this challenge was 2013 where a whopping 68 pythons were caught from the wild. That might not seem like many, but these snakes are very well camouflaged and hard to discern from a pile of leaves. Burmese pythons are one of the five largest snakes in the world, and they are native to a large variation of tropic and sub-tropic areas of Southern and Southeast Asia.

The winner of the competition in 2013, Ruben Ramirez, caught 18 pythons and received a prize of $1,500! But why is the FWC encouraging the locals to go out and catch these snakes? Well, Burmese pythons are invasive to the everglades in Florida and their presence in the Florida ecosystem is causing a lot of damage. Many people believe that hurricane Andrew is responsible for the Burmese python outbreak because it released many pet pythons into the wild. Pythons don't have any natural predators in this region and therefore overpopulate the area completely unchecked. Experts estimate that there could be as many as 150,000 of these pythons living in the everglades. A paper published by the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that bird and coyote populations in Florida are threatened by these snakes, as well as already rare rival predatory species such as the Florida panther. The main purpose of the competition is to help decrease the harmful python population with participation from the community; but another great thing about this python challenge is that it helps educate people about the threat that this invasive species imposes on their local ecosystem. The more aware the public is about threats such as these the better!

Posted by Ashley Condon, Group A


  1. I would like to participate in that but not for that price which wont take care of me if bitten, but how do these pythons threaten ecosystem? can you explain that more?

    osuji chukwunonso

  2. It's good to hear that local wildlife branches are taking steps to educate the public about their local ecosystem. Do you know how effective the challenge was at lowering snake populations the last time it was held?
    -Mark Glasman

  3. Cool article, hopefully this will provide the public an incentive to help remove this invasive species before permanent harm is done!

    -Michael Salhany