Python Bowl Competition In Florida Removes 80 Snakes

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Over 750 amateur and professional Burmese python hunters gathered in Florida on January 9th to participate in a 10-day Python Bowl competition. The event was set up to help eliminate the invasive species. It’s a contest to see who can catch the most snakes, who can catch the heaviest snake, and who can catch the longest snake.

Each category awarded contestants with deferent levels of prizes and by the end of the contest, 80 snakes were gathered. Mike Kimmel, a professional hunter was the top winner for the most snakes. He took home the pro grand prize of a Tracker 570 off-road ATV after capturing eight pythons. Kristian Hernandez won the rookie grand prize for capturing six snakes and received an ATV as well. One of her snakes was 11-foot, 6.5 inches long.

Tom Rahill got the pro grand prize of $2000 for removing the heaviest snake that weighed 62 pounds. He also received an additional $2000 by capturing the longest python too that was 12-feet, 7 inches.

On top of that, the competition gave prizes to active military members who participated in the hunt and Barry Offenburger from the U.S. Army won $1000 by removing three pythons. Dave Mucci from the U.S. Air Force won $3,750 across several categories and captured an 11-foot, 50-pound python.

Florida Wildlife officials say that the Burmese python was introduced into the state 20 years ago as pets and then released into the wild. Since then the population has exceeded over 100,000 and has caused major damage to the ecosystem. An effort was created back in March 2017 called Florida’s Python Elimination Program to remove the pythons and so far they have successfully removed over 2,500 pythons.