Snake hunters removed 223 invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades during the 2021 Florida Python Challenge.
More than 600 people participated in the 10-day competition, designed to increase awareness about invasive species and the threats they pose to Florida’s ecology.
Charles Dachton won the $10,000 Ultimate Grand Prize, for removing 41 pythons.
Juan Gonzalez will also be receiving a $2,500 prize for his efforts in removing eight Burmese pythons in the Novice category during the 2021 Florida Python Challenge.
The longest pythons removed in the competition were 15 ft. 9 in. removed by Brandon Call for the Novice category and Dusty Crum removed a 15 ft. 5 in. python in the Professional category.
“Everglades restoration and the protection of water resources has been a top priority of my administration since day one,” Governor Ron DeSantis said. “Invasive Burmese pythons have wreaked havoc in the Everglades, negatively impacting the ecosystem and biodiversity. At my direction, FWC and the South Florida Water Management District have taken steps to increase python removal efforts, and the unprecedented success of the 2021 Florida Python Challenge® is a great example of the progress Florida has made battling these invasive species. Removing more than 200 Burmese pythons is a victory for our state as well as for the native animals that live here.”
Burmese pythons are not native to Florida and negatively impact native species. They are found primarily in and around the Everglades ecosystem in south Florida where they prey on birds, mammals and other reptiles. A female Burmese python can lay 50 to 100 eggs at a time. Since 2000, more than 13,000 Burmese pythons have been removed from the state of Florida.
The public can help control invasive species by reporting nonnative fish and wildlife to the FWC’s Invasive Species Hotline at 888-IVE-GOT1 (888-483-4681), by reporting sightings online at IveGot1.org or by downloading the IveGot1 smartphone app. For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Nonnatives.