2020 Florida Python Bowl Nets 80 Invasive Snakes
January 28, 2020
Snake hunters who participated in the Florida Python Challenge 2020 Python Bowl successfully removed 80 Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) from the Everglades, while also raising awareness with regard to the destructive nature the snakes pose to native wildlife. Since 2017, more than 3,600 Burmese pythons have been removed from the Everglades.
FWC Photo by Avery Bristol
Robert Edman, an FWC biologist bags a python that was captured during this year's Florida Python Challenge 2020 Python Bowl.
Hunters participated in several challenges, including most pythons captured, longest python captured and heaviest python captured. Prizes ranged from a TRACKER 570 Off Road ATV to cash prizes of up to $2,000.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 750 people from 20 states participated in this year’s 10 day competition. More than 550 people participated in the services’s hands-on safe-capture training and identification program.
“More than 750 registrants joined Florida’s ramped-up efforts to remove harmful pythons from America’s Everglades as part of the Florida Python Challenge 2020 Python Bowl,” South Florida Water Management District Executive Director Drew Bartlett said in a statement released to the media. “The national and international attention around Super Bowl LIV brought incredible public awareness to the danger invasive Burmese pythons pose and the importance of Everglades restoration. Congratulations to all the winners, and a big thank you to Gov. DeSantis, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee and everyone who participated in this important conservation effort.”
Below is a list of winners and the prizes they won.
- Pro grand prize winner Mike Kimmel won a TRACKER 570 Off Road ATV for removing eight pythons.
- Rookie grand prize winner Kristian Hernandez won a TRACKER 570 Off Road ATV for removing six pythons.
- Pro second prize winner Lindsey Floyd won $750 for removing six pythons.
- Rookie second prize winner Ethan O’Neil won $750 for removing four pythons.
- Active service member or veteran winner Barry Offenburger (U.S. Army) won $1,000 for removing three pythons.
- Pro grand prize winner Tom Rahill won $2,000 for a 12-foot, 7.3-inch
- Rookie grand prize winner Kristian Hernandez won $2,000 for an 11-foot, 6.5-inch python.
- Pro second prize winner Amy Siewe won $750 for a 10-foot, 7-inch python.
- Rookie second prize winner Dave Mucci won $750 for an 11-foot, .08-inch python.
- Active service member or veteran winner Dave Mucci (U.S. Air Force) won $1,000 for an 11-foot, .08-inch python.
- Pro grand prize winner Tom Rahill won $2,000 for a 62-pound python.
- Rookie grand prize winner Dave Mucci won $2,000 for a 49.4-pound python.
- Pro second prize winner Dustin Crum won $750 for a 9-pound python.
- Rookie second prize winner Kristian Hernandez won $750 for a 1-pound python.
- Active service member or veteran winner Dave Mucci (U.S. Air Force) won $1,000 for a 49.4-pound python.
Florida has been grappling with the invasive species since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 destroyed an exotic pet dealer's warehouse, releasing the non-native snakes. In 2013, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission held its first python hunting contest called the Python Challenge in an effort to reduce the number of pythons in the Everglades. Hunters captured 68 pythons during the hunt, the largest which measured 17-feet, six inches and weighed 164 pounds. More than 1,000 hunters entered the challenge.
The Burmese python is thriving in the Florida Everglades. They can grow to more than 20 feet in the wild and weigh more than 200 pounds. Their native range is in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.