With snakeskin football in hand, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stood on the edge of the Everglades and invited people to catch and kill as many giant pythons as possible.
“We are doing all of these efforts to restore the Everglades but these pythons, there’s no natural predator for them, so they really reek havoc on the wildlife,” said the governor.
On Thursday, he announced the 2020 python challenge, Python Bowl. It’s An effort to remove the giant snakes from the everglades. The State of Florida is teaming with the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee to support its Ocean to Everglades initiative.
Before people can participate, they have to be trained on how to handle the giant snakes.
The challenge begins January 10th.
“This python is destroying the natural food chain In the beautiful everglades,” said long-time Everglades advocate Ron Bergeron. “Without a natural food chain, you cannot have a natural environment.”
Some pythons are on the move, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez warned.
“This species is actually making its way east,” said Gimenez. “We’ve seen some pythons actually get into some inhabited areas, which is something we do not want.”
The night before Thursday’s announcement, residents found a giant python slithering through their Kendall neighborhood.
“I lived here for over 20 years and I’ve never seen that size snake in the neighborhood. I think it’s probably a pet that somebody dropped off,” said Resident Aurelio Carmenates. He helped capture the python right outside his house.
Burmese pythons are not native to Florida and negatively impact native species. They are found primarily in and around the Everglades ecosystem in South Florida where they prey on birds, mammals and other reptiles. A female Burmese python may lay 50 to 100 eggs at a time.
The first python was found in South Florida back in 1979 and since then, about 9,500 have been removed.
“There’s a lot of interest in this,” said Governor DeSantis. “People in other states and even in other countries want to be able to come and help with python removal.”
If you’re interested in hunting giant snakes in the Everglades, click here for more information.