The Everglades Are Being Overrun For The Annual Python Challenge

The Everglades Are Being Overrun For The Annual Python Challenge

The Annual Python Challenge is exactly what it sounds like. A slew of mammals once consumed the area of the Everglades National Park in south Florida including deer and fox etc. Now, we’re lucky to spot one mammal on occasion in the area, according to the local wildlife experts. Why such a decline in the wildlife population? Because of the ever-invasive Burmese Python species.

To help combat this problem against Florida’s ecosystem, snake hunters are descending upon the everglade for the Florida Python Challenge. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission created this event in 2013. Records show that Florida has been dealing with Burmese Pythons as far back as 1979. Since 1979, the Burmese Python has been a continued threat to Florida and its wildlife population.

Professional Snake Hunters

The Annual Python Challenge sees hundreds of professional snake hunters to South Florida, specifically to hunt and dispose of the Burmese Python’s overrunning the Everglades. Since Friday, over 850 people have already signed up for the annual hunt.

August 5 was the starting point of this year’s 10-day challenge. In order to participate in the hunt, members must take an online course to train them, and pay a $25 registration fee. But why? Other than correcting the disrupt in the eco system, the hunter who brings back the most pythons at the end of each season wins $2,500. The winner of last year’s hunt brought back more than 200 pythons.

The annual Python Challenge is one thing, but year-round removal efforts are still incorporated. Since the year 2000, over 15,000 pythons have been removed and accounted for, from the Everglades and South Florida areas. Contractors have been hired, with water management, who work towards the goal year-round and then participate in the challenge to capture these reptiles. The pythons are responsible for a decrease in the animal population of up to 90% in the Everglades area.

Its A Full-Time Job, Not Just The Once A Year Annual Python Challenge

The local governments employ annual snake hunters as well. The Burmese Python epidemic requires a full-time task force to curb the destruction they cause to the local ecosystem. Many snake hunters are accumulating upwards of 200 pythons per year. The hunting does not come easy, quite the contrary. Throughout their career, snake hunters suffer from multiple python bites and most of the snake hunters you speak to will recommend against snake hunting at all.

Pythons are large enough to take down a full-grown man with ease, therefore snake hunting can be extremely dangerous. You should only sign up to hunt pythons if you’re a professional, and even then, it may not be enough. This process requires extreme vigilance. Pythons can grow to massive sizes and it’s a huge undertaking to battle them one on one. Some of the largest captured have been recorded at over 17 feet long. Also, it’s not uncommon for them to weigh in at well over 100 pounds.  As you can see, there is an immediate threat posed by these giant creatures. Unfortunately, they must be dealt with before they’re population numbers grow and expand outward into the surrounding areas.

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