In 2013 the state of Florida held a Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) hunt that netted 68 snakes from 1,600 hunters. The event&rsqu
In 2013 the state of Florida held a Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) hunt that netted 68 snakes from 1,600 hunters. The event’s success was a mixed bag given the ratio of snakes caught to hunters who participated, but the state is doing it again in 2016, if for anything, to raise awareness about the invasive species problem that south Florida has to deal with. According to some reports, there are more invasive species in Florida than anywhere else in the continental United States.
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“We’re really looking at trying to raise awareness again,” FWC spokeswoman Liz Barraco told the Palm Beach Post. “What the Python Challenge did really well back in 2013 was get people aware of the problem with invasive species in the state of Florida. What we’d really like to do is get their attention again.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced a second Python Challenge will occur in 2016 in an effort to educate the public about invasive species. Any pythons netted during the hunt will be a bonus. The commission, armed with new data that provides insight into the movements of the snakes, will help officials better train the hunters on how to locate a python. The FWC will also provide training on how to capture a python once one is located.
While dates have not yet been set, the plans are in motion for another hunt.
“At the end of the day, we can all agree that the Burmese python doesn’t belong in the Everglades,” Barraco said. “So we’re all really focusing our efforts on what is the best thing we can do to find them and remove them.”
John B. Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata