Over 800 people compete in Everglades, Florida to remove Burmese invasive pythons

The Great Snake Hunt is underway! Over 800 people compete in Everglades, Florida to remove Burmese invasive pythons in hopes of winning up to $2,500 in cash.

  • The annual Florida python hunt began Friday at 5 a.m. ET and will continue until 5 p.m. ET on August 14.
  • Over 800 are now searching the Everglades for invasive Burmese pythons that they will hunt and bring back
  • There are cash prizes of up to $2,500 available in both the Professional and Beginner categories

More than 800 people have ventured into the thick vegetation of the Everglades, Florida, where they will compete to capture invasive Burmese pythons over the next 10 days in a bid to win thousands of dollars in prize money.

The annual Snake Removal Contest began Friday at 8 a.m. ET and will run until 5 p.m. ET on August 14.

The snakes are native to Southeast Asia, but have been wreaking havoc in Florida since the 1970s, as they are a threat to local wildlife – and studies show these large snakes have wiped out populations of rabbits and foxes in Everglades National Park.

The hunters’ group includes Amy Seo, 45, who told NBC: “It doesn’t look like I can catch a 17-foot snake. ‘But I can.’

Siewe, who is five feet four inches tall and weighs 120 pounds, is a state-paid contractor and hunts snakes all year long. Contractors have removed 10,000 snakes since Florida began hiring them in 2007.

To date, registered fishermen represent 32 states and Canada. Registrations are accepted for the duration of the competition. Registration costs $25 and participants must also complete an online course.

Officials said cash prizes of up to $2,500 are available in the Professional and Novice categories for those who remove the most snakes. There are additional prizes for the longest python in each category. Each snake must be dead, as hunters face disqualification if they kill them inhumanely or kill a domestic snake.

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Hundreds of people hunt Burmese pythons in the Everglades, Florida for the annual search for states to control the large population.

The Florida Python Challenge has removed more than 17,000 pythons since its inception in 2000.

Under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, FWC, the South Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Foundation are hosting the Florida Python Challenge to raise awareness about invasive species and the threats they pose to Florida’s environment.

The annual competition encourages people to directly participate in the conservation of the Everglades through the removal of invasive species.

Participants in the 2021 Florida Python Challenge removed 223 Burmese pythons from the Everglades, more than double the number removed in 2020. More than 600 people from 25 states are registered to participate in the 10-day competition in 2021.

The annual Snake Removal Contest began Friday at 8 a.m. ET and will run until 5 p.m. ET on August 14.  Pictured is a young boy learning how to catch a Burmese python in a humane way

The annual Snake Removal Contest began Friday at 8 a.m. ET and will run until 5 p.m. ET on August 14. Pictured is a young boy learning how to catch a Burmese python in a humane way

Just like Siewe, another contractor was cruising last month in search of Burmese pythons that led him to a nursery with huge females, 23 eggs and dozens of new hatchlings.

Commission officer Matthew Rubinstein, and python contractor Alex McDuffie found two nesting areas in Big Cypress National Preserve, located in South Florida.

The pair first caught a 10-foot-long female Burmese python as she perched on 23 undeveloped eggs and 18 tiny pythons that slithered nearby.

McDuffie reported to Rubinstein that upon returning to the same location the following evening, he removed a second breeding female of 17 feet, six inches.

Last month, FWC Officer Matthew Rubinstein and snake contractor Alex McDuffie raided a snake's nest.  They found two large snakes, eggs and young ones

Last month, FWC Officer Matthew Rubinstein and snake contractor Alex McDuffie raided a snake’s nest. They found two large snakes, eggs and young ones

Researchers at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida captured this huge female snake that turned out to weigh 215 pounds and reach 17.7 feet in length.

Researchers at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida captured this huge female snake that turned out to weigh 215 pounds and reach 17.7 feet in length.

Although Burmese pythons are widespread throughout the Everglades, they are difficult to catch due to the fact that they live in the depths of swamps.

However, snake hunters have gotten creative in finding these snakes – they use males to hunt females.

Douglas Mayne, senior writer and editor at National Geographic, spoke with DailyMail.com last month about how to use this technology to capture the largest snake ever recorded in Florida — or anywhere outside of its native range.

Researchers at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida captured this huge female snake that turned out to weigh 215 pounds and reach 17.7 feet in length.

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