Rampant Snakes To Be Hunted as Python Challenge Gets Under Way Saturday

More than 700 people have signed up for the contest

By Julia Bagg
|  Friday, Jan 11, 2013  |  Updated 10:32 PM EDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
More than 700 people have signed up for the state s Python Challenge. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino spoke about what officials hope to learn about the predator.

More than 700 people have signed up for the state s Python Challenge. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino spoke about what officials hope to learn about the predator.

advertisement
Photos and Videos

Accused Snake Stabber in Bond Court

Roy Strickland, who is accused of stabbing a python 19 times, appears in bond court in Broward.
More Photos and Videos

It's open season on a slithering South Florida invader.

More than 700 people have signed up for the state’s Python Challenge, which kicks off Saturday.

"We want to make sure that we get a better handle on what their diet is, where they congregate," said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Jorge Pino.

A $1,000 prize is up for grabs for the longest Burmese Python caught. The hunter who captures the most pythons can take home $1,500 in the monthlong harvest, which runs until Feb. 10.

The troublesome reptiles have been making themselves at home in the Florida Everglades, where they have no natural predators besides humans.

The snakes have no venom, but eat just about anything – from endangered species to household pets. Consequently, they are endangering the delicate Everglades ecosystem.

Largest Florida Burmese Python Caught in Everglades

One 17-footer snuck up on a family picnic near Everglades National Park.

"These animals are wild and if cornered, they will strike,” Pino said.

Pythons have been caught on camera fighting with alligators, and even attempting to swallow one.

It’s not known how many pythons are in the Everglades, but some wildlife experts estimate that tens of thousands of them now call the area home.

There is a $25 registration fee to take part in the Python Challenge. Training and other activities will be offered Saturday at 10 a.m. at the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, with the contest to begin in earnest at 1 p.m.

For a registration form and more information on the Python Challenge, click here.

Man Called Pet Python 'Evil,' Stabbed it 19 Times: Police

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Get Our New iPad App
Now optimized for iPad, NBC 6 connects... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out