Python Challenge: Florida Snake Hunters Compete for Cash Prizes

the daily dish More on PawNation: Exotic, Legal, Pythons, Reptiles, Weird
Beginning January 12, hunters are embarking on a so-called "Python Challenge" presented by wildlife officials in hopes of reducing the Burmese python population in the South Florida wetlands, according to ABC News.

Those who are skilled enough to snag one of the invasive species can win up to $1,500. An additional $1,000 will be given to the person who captures the longest python. This is the first time Florida has ever invited the public to participate in a head-on approach to thwart the Burmese python population.

Burmese pythons have been known to grow up to 26 feet in their native South Asia. However, the longest python found in Florida was 17 feet long. Carli Segelson, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson, believes that the contest will not only achieve eradication, but also documentation of the pythons.

"Our goal is to help get rid of the python from the wild, educate the public about the snake's impact on the Florida ecosystem, and inform them of what impacts non-native pets can have if allowed into the wild," Segelson said.

This challenge is not just good news for the Florida Wildlife Commission, it is good (albeit controversial) news for clothing, accessory and furniture companies who use python skins for their products. A company in Hollywood, Florida, intend to buy the python skins from the hunters.

To learn more about the contest, click to see the website.


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