102 Burmese pythons killed or captured in South Florida as part of the 'Python Challenge'

BY ADAM WIDMER
Posted on JUL 11, 2019

The campaign is serious business: the python is an invasive species in the Everglades.

Killing pythons is a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it -- especially in Florida, where the snake has been running amok.

Florida runs an annual Python Challenge, and as of Friday 102 Burmese Pythons had been dispatched, either through death or capture -- a significant increase from the 68 snakes in the inaugural challenge in 2013, according to Sun-Sentinel.com report.
There's still time to participate, as the challenge doesn't end until Sunday. Those who are interested can register at any time while it is active. A total of more than 1,000 people are participating this year -- a decrease from the 1,600 recorded in 2013, although there's still time for new signups.

The campaign is serious business: the python is an invasive species in the Everglades and threatens to upset the fragile ecosystem. That's why officials are undertaking this effort to cull their numbers. There are believed to be tens of thousands of pythons in South Florida.

There's some benefits for those who participate. Teams and individuals who get the most snakes -- and the biggest ones -- get up to $1,500 at an awards ceremony held at the end of the month.

Pythons are a genus on nonvenomous snakes, of which there are 12 species. They are native to Africa and Asia, but have become popular as pets. Florida's python explosion is likely largely due to escaped pet pythons that have reproduced and thrived thanks to a lack of predators and easy food. Burmese pythons, native to Southeast Asia, are the most common type of python that have established a breeding population in the region. They were first spotted in the Everglades back in the 1980s but they weren't recognized as a breeding population until 2000