Python Challenge brings snake hunters to Everglades

January 9, 2013 by  

Unless something is done soon, it may become commonplace to local print companies producing ‘Beware of Snake’ signs all through the Everglades. However, if the upcoming snake hunt is successful, such action may not be required just yet.

This Saturday, January 12, marks the beginning of the 2013 Python Challenge. The month-long challenge starts with a training seminar about the snakes in question, which begins at 10:00 am at the University of Florida’s Research and Education Center in Davie. The hunting begins at 1:00 pm on the same day and finishes at the stroke of midnight on February 10. Prizes awarded for the longest snake and the most snakes – $1,000 and $1,500 respectively – will be presented at Zoo Miami on February 16.

The Burmese Python infestation of the Everglades resulted from the escape of exotic pet snakes that were imported from South Asia. No hunting license is required to hunt the snakes, and participants need no experience with snakes. With almost 400 people signed up to take part in the challenge, participants are urged to take care, as some native snakes, though included in the hunt, are venomous.

However, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson, Carli Segelson, is attempting to quell such concerns. She is supervising the hunt and believes that the extra law enforcement that will be available, in addition to the training provided, will protect both the hunters and the native wildlife and make the activity worthwhile and enjoyable.