‘Florida Python Challenge’ awards prizes for catching the big snakes

In less than a month, The Florida Python Challenge 2020 Python Bowl gets underway, so we wanted to know what it takes to become a python hunter.

We attended a python hunter training workshop hosted by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Friday. We joined 15 others to learn all about Burmese pythons.

“When the python apocalypse happens, we’re going to be ready,” attendee Elizabeth Humann said.

We started off the training in a classroom to get a little background on these reptile predators.

“We want people to be able to identify the difference between the python that is invasive and not take the native snakes that provide a viral roll in the ecosystem,” said Carollyn Parrish, FWC’s director of public information.

Trainers showed us the proper technique to take control of the giant snakes.

People who started off the afternoon scared of snakes warmed up to them after the training.

“I’m not a huge fan of snakes, but this was not intimidating at all,” Humann said.

This year alone FWC caught more than 9,000 snakes in the wild, the biggest one more than 18-feet long.

The official Python Bowl starts Jan. 10 and runs until Jan. 17. Participants will compete for prizes given to those who catch the biggest and heaviest snakes out there.

The hands-on experience helps participants get comfortable with the snakes before going out into the wild.

“Pythons are not particularly dangerous if you know how to handle them,” attendee Ira Cotton said.

MORE: Florida Python Challenge 2020 Python Bowl Competition Rules

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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