Registration is open for the 2024 Florida Python Challenge

Python Challenge AP
The event, now in its 11th year, runs Aug. 9-18.

Florida’s yearly competition to help rid the Everglades of invasive Burmese pythons is here again, and registration for the 10-day event is now open.

More than $25,000 in prizes are at stake.

Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez announced at a press conference in Homestead that the state is now accepting registrants for the 2024 Florida Python Challenge.

The event runs Aug. 9-18.

Joining her were Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Executive Director Roger Young and Ron Bergeron, who serves on the South Florida Water Management District Board.

“Florida continues to make record investments in protecting the state’s unique natural resources for future generations, including the targeted removal of the invasive Burmese python,” Nuñez said.

“I wish all participants a memorable and safe hunt, and I look forward to congratulating this year’s winners.”

Burmese pythons are not native to Florida, and they harm native wildlife. They are found primarily around the Everglades ecosystem in South Florida, where they prey on birds, mammals and other reptiles.

They also reproduce rapidly. A female Burmese python can lay 50-100 eggs at a time.

Since 2000, more than 21,000 Burmese pythons have been reported to the FWC as removed from the environment.

The FWC and partner organizations launched the Python Challenge in 2013 as a one-month competition. It attracted nearly 1,600 people from 38 states and Canada, each of whom paid $25 and completed an online training course to participate. By the event’s end, 68 of the snakes were caught, killed and delivered to the agency.

Last year, within a mere 10-day span, challenge participants removed 209 pythons from the Everglades — 23% of the total since the event’s debut 11 years ago.

The competition has even been featured in pop culture. It’s the central event for the well-reviewed Peacock TV series, “Killing It,” starring Craig Robinson.

“This event allows the public to get involved in protecting our native wildlife while competing to win thousands of dollars for their efforts,” Young said.

Burmese pythons are the second-largest snake species on the planet and have been known to grow to 19 feet long and weigh as much as 215 pounds.

Expert and amateur participants can compete in the Python Challenge. Prizes will be awarded in the professional, novice and military categories, funded by the Bergeron Everglades Foundation and InvestaLeather, which donated $10,000 each, and Edison National Bank/Bank of the Islands, which donated $5,000.

Click here to register.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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