18-Foot-Long Burmese Python Caught in Everglades Demonstrates Why Florida Needs Its Annual Python Challenge

Toby Hazlewood

Catch a snake, save Florida's ecosystem

A record-setting Burmese Python was captured in the Everglades recently by members of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. The size of the enormous snake highlights the need for Florida's annual Python Challenge which was launched by Governor Ron DeSantis earlier in June.

News of the enormous python's capture was emerged on June 26 and the reptile measured 18-feet in length and weighed in at 215 pounds. It also contained 122 eggs which is another record.

The size of this snake - which dwarfs the previous record - suggests that not only are the number of Burmese Pythons living in the wilds of Florida increasing, but they're getting bigger and bigger too. This is bad news for Florida's natural wildlife upon which the pythons prey.

These snakes aren't native to Florida but it is thought they've made it into the ecosystem after pet snakes grew too large to be managed and were released into the wild. Since then, they've thrived due to favorable conditions and a plentiful supply of smaller animals to prey upon.

Over 16,000 Burmese pythons have been removed from Florida's ecosystem since 2000.

The Florida python challenge

On June 16 Gov. DeSantis launched the annual Florida Python Challenge. The 10-day event will be held between August 5-14, 2022 and during that time, registered members of the public who have completed the necessary online training may compete to win thousands of dollars in prizes by removing invasive Burmese Pythons from the wild. 

The competition is open to both professional and novice participants and during the 2021 event, 600 people from 25 states took part, catching and removing 223 Burmese pythons from the Everglades.

Prizes on offer to those who enter the challenge include:

  • Prize for the most pythons captured - $2,500
  • Prize for 2nd most pythons captured - $750
  • Prize for longest python - $1,500
  • Prize for 2nd longest python - $750

Those who captured the record-setting python may be regretting that they didn't do so during the python challenge!

Will you be taking part in the python challenge or do you know someone who is? Do you think enough is being done to protect Florida's wildlife and ecosystem? Let me know in the comments section below.

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