Pythons are enough of a problem in Florida there is an annual python challenge, because of course they are. Brought to Florida as pets, enough Burmese pythons were irresponsibly released into the wild when they became inconveniently too large to keep as personal pets 35-45 years ago that the state now has an overabundance of this invasive apex predator.
Native to Southeast Asia, these snakes were first introduced to the Florida wild in the late 1970s, and they have reproduced at an astronomical level since.
Starting Aug. 5 and continuing for 10 days, those hunters (both professional and novice) will fan out in South Florida to humanely capture and kill these snakes for the state's annual Python Challenge.
It's an important program that will help restore Florida's ecosystem, according to Donna Kalil, a Florida-based python hunting professional. Last year's competitors removed 223 invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades.
"To try to keep the Everglades healthy, you have to have the animals that belong in it. And in order to do that, you have to remove the invasive predator that is the Burmese python," said Kalil.