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- A Florida challenge is giving snake hunters the chance to win a share of $30,000 in prizes.
- The top prize of $10,000 will go to the participant who removes the most Burmese pythons.
- Officials say Burmese pythons are an invasive species and harmful to the Everglades ecosystem.
An annual Florida competition is giving participants the chance to win a share of over $30,000 in prizes this summer. But those with a fear of snakes should probably sit this one out.
Last week, registration opened for the 2023 Florida Python Challenge.
During the 10-day competition, which will run from August 4th to 13th, participants will take on the role of python hunter — and seek to remove as many Burmese pythons from Florida’s Everglades ecosystem as they can.
The participant that removes the most pythons will win a grand prize of $10,000 prize. There’s also a $7,500 prize for the Grand Prize Runner Up, sponsored by the Bergeron Everglades Foundation, per Space Coast Daily.
People who have inhumanely killed any python during the competition will be disqualified.
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Burmese pythons are invasive to Florida, and officials say the species has negatively impacted the native wildlife by preying on birds, mammals, and reptiles.
“There is nowhere in the world like America’s Everglades, and we need to continue to protect and restore this national treasure,” South Florida Water Management District Governing Board Member “Alligator Ron” Bergeron said in a statement. “Removing invasive pythons from across the Greater Everglades Ecosystem is absolutely critical, and we must do everything we can to combat this invasive species.”
Last year, roughly 1,000 people from 32 states, Canada, and Latvia registered for the challenge. And participants removed 231 Burmese pythons from the region, double the amount from 2020’s challenge.
Invasive Burmese pythons are damaging Florida’s natural ecosystems.
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Both professional and novice snake hunters are welcome, but all participants are required to complete an online training before they can register for the event.
Per the challenge’s website, the training teaches competitors how to identify Burmese pythons, in addition to “humane killing methods.”
Participants will be disqualified if they are found to have inhumanely killed a python.