The incredibly popular python hunt is returning to Florida in August, and hunters who want to accept the challenge of removing invasive Burmese pythons from the wild can register now.
The 2023 Florida Python Challenge is open to both professional and novice participants, who will have the chance to win a share of more than $30,000 in prizes.
Those interested in participating can complete the required online training to compete in the 10-day competition, which runs Aug. 4–13.
Click here to register for the 2023 competition, take the required online training, view the optional training opportunities, learn more about Burmese pythons and the unique Everglades ecosystem, and find resources for planning your trip to South Florida to participate in the Florida Python Challenge.
Last year, Florida wildlife officials said nearly 1,000 hunters from 32 states and as far away as Canada and Latvia removed 231 Burmese pythons from the Florida Everglades as part of the annual competition to eliminate the invasive species from the South Florida wetlands preserve.
“My tenure in office has accounted for more than half of the 18,000 pythons removed from the Everglades since 2000,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “The Python Challenge allows folks to participate firsthand in Everglades restoration efforts, and I look forward to seeing this year’s results.”
Last year, Matthew Concepcion won the $10,000 top prize for removing 28 Burmese pythons. Another hunter, Dustin Crum, won a $1,500 prize for removing the longest python, a snake that measured over 11 feet.
“Every one of the pythons removed as part of the Challenge is one less preying on our native birds, mammals and reptiles,” Rodney Barreto, chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said after last year’s challenge.
Pythons became invasive in Florida after they were brought into the state as pets and then abandoned in the wild by their owners, wildlife officials say. Since 2000, more than 18,000 wild Burmese pythons have been removed from Florida, where they are a destructive presence for native species, according to the FWC.
“Since the first Florida Python Challenge in 2013, we have reached a countless number of people across the globe, alerting them to the negative impacts caused by Burmese pythons and other invasive species in Florida,” Barreto said in a news release Wednesday announcing that registration is open for this year’s challenge. “Thanks to Gov. Ron DeSantis and our partners with the South Florida Water Management District, we are once again hosting this event for the public to get involved in protecting our native wildlife while competing to win thousands of dollars for their efforts removing Burmese pythons from our iconic Florida Everglades ecosystem, a place like nowhere else on Earth.”
The state says the invasive Burmese python is found primarily in and around the Everglades ecosystem in South Florida where the snakes prey on birds, mammals and other reptiles. A female Burmese python may lay 50 to 100 eggs at a time. For more information on Burmese pythons, visit MyFWC.com/Python.
In addition to python removal opportunities on 25 Commission-managed lands which are available year-round, pythons can be humanely killed on private lands at any time with landowner permission — no permit or hunting license required — and the FWC encourages people to remove and humanely kill pythons from private lands whenever possible.