Eighty invasive Burmese pythons were caught during a 10-day hunt in south Florida, where the snakes are decimating the Everglades, state wildlife officials said.
More than 750 people from 20 states took part in the 2020 Python Bowl, a Super Bowl-themed competition aimed at removing the snakes while raising awareness about the nonnative species, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Saturday.
The heaviest python weighed a whopping 62 pounds, while the longest snake was measured at 12 feet and 7.3 inches – or about 11 feet shorter than Burmese pythons can reach into the wild, according to National Geographic.
But the competition’s pro grand prize winner, Mike Kimmel, won an off-road ATV for bagging eight pythons, which can be legally hunted at any time on public lands throughout the state.
Rookie grand prize winner Kristian Hernandez also won an ATV for catching six pythons, including a beast in excess of 11 feet. Tom Rahill, meanwhile, took home $4,000 for catching both the longest and heaviest pythons during the competition, according to the wildlife agency.
Burmese pythons first appeared in the Everglades in the late 1970s and have no natural predators, the Miami Herald reports.
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission began paying hunters in recent years to remove the snakes, with bonuses doled out for egg-laying females. The South Florida Water Management District then doubled the number of its python removal agents to 50 last year in addition to annual hunts organized in south Florida, the newspaper reports.
Credit: Source link