Hunters vie to win prizes tracking down invasive Burmese pythons

Organizers want them dead.

While the Sunshine State is happy to greet newcomers, there’s one nonhuman invader who has overstayed their welcome and wreaked havoc on Florida’s native wildlife.

Enter the Florida Python Challenge, a 10-day Burmese python hunting competition offering $30,000 in prizes for those who kill the most and longest snakes in several different categories, including professional snake hunters and novices.

Last year, nearly 1,000 people from around the U.S. and internationally paid the $25 entry fee to join the hunt. The 2023 event started at midnight Aug. 4 and lasts through Aug. 13.

The 2022 Ultimate Grand Prize winner was Matthew Concepcion, who captured 28 pythons during the Challenge.

When it comes to a wanted poster for the invasive reptile, there is no “Dead or Alive.” Organizers want them dead and give detailed instructions on how to humanely kill a python, which basically involves sticking a sharp object into its head and then using it to scramble the snake’s brains.

The Challenge event is a cooperative effort of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the Florida Fish & Wildlife Foundation and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) as well as other sponsors.

Because of their elusive nature, lack of predators and rugged habitat, experts can’t estimate how many invasive pythons might be living in and around the Everglades. But they do agree it will be practically impossible to totally wipe out the Burmese python population in Florida.

But in addition to removing pythons — 231 were taken in 2022 — the event is designed to bring awareness to the ecological damage caused by these snakes and other nonnative species in Florida. Since 2000, more than 18,000 Burmese pythons have been reported to the FWC as removed from the environment.

SFWMD has created a poster featuring what a Burmese python might eat over 5 to 7 years. It pictures 11 different prey animals arranged like a macabre food pyramid. The diet includes raccoons, opossums, birds, squirrels and 5-foot alligators. Also found in python bellies are the remains of deer and bobcats.

The FWC offers a brochure chock full of information about Burmese pythons, including how to identify one and what to do if you spot one.

Rosanne Dunkelberger


  • My Take

    August 4, 2023 at 3:00 pm

    See, MAGAite GOPers aren’t Florida’s only big snakes in the grass.

    • eva

      August 4, 2023 at 4:16 pm

      I make $100h while I’m traveling the world. Last week I worked by my laptop in Rome, Monti Carlo and finally Paris. This week I’m vs06 back in the USA. All I do are easy tasks from this one cool site. check it out,



  • My Take

    August 4, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    Normally, anything that eats rats is OK with me, but apparently these are the kinda cute (fuzzy), mostly innocuous, outside cotton rats,

  • Biscuit

    August 4, 2023 at 4:22 pm

    I can help sniff out the snakes in Tallahassee. Grrrrrr. But it will cost you a few treats.

  • My Take

    August 6, 2023 at 5:47 am

    Florida always has had some crocodiles, in the Biscayne Bay area and now in the cooling canals for the Turkey Point ñuclear plants.
    But someone now has added Nile crocodiles. Not too big yet but these grow to be the monsters that ķill adult wildebeest (wild cow relatives) and on occassion hippoes!
    How do we get them to savor python?

Comments are closed.


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