Frequently Asked Questions
The intent of the Python Challenge™ is to raise public awareness about Burmese pythons in Florida and how this invasive species is a threat to the Everglades ecosystem, including native wildlife. The Python Challenge™ is designed to spread knowledge about Burmese pythons in Florida, encourage the continued removal of these snakes by the public, and highlight the importance of responsible pet ownership so nonnative species such as Burmese pythons are not released into the wild.
The Python Challenge™ is a 10-day competition challenging participant to remove as many Burmese pythons as possible. It includes two free public events in south Florida. There will also be increased educational and training opportunities with the Python Challenge™.
The Python Challenge™ kick-off event will be held Jan. 10, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, at Markham Park in Broward County. The welcome and opening remarks will start at 10 a.m. Participants in the Python Challenge™ will receive information that will help them with the competition and the public can learn about Burmese pythons and efforts to manage them.
See the Events Page for more information.
The python removal competition begins at 10 a.m. on Jan. 10, 2020 and ends at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020.
The Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl Awards Ceremony will be held on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Super Bowl Live Huddle Down Stage at Bayfront Park in Miami. Awards will be given to the individuals who remove the longest Burmese python and the most Burmese pythons. Additional recognition will be given to Military veterans and those who are actively serving in the military
See the Events Page for more information.
The Burmese python is a large, nonvenomous constrictor that is an invasive species in Florida. Burmese pythons are found primarily in the Everglades, where the snake represents a threat to the ecosystem, including native wildlife. Burmese pythons prey on native Florida species of mammals, birds and reptiles, as well as other nonnative species.
Only Burmese pythons removed from the following list of participating areas are valid entries for the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl Python Removal Competition.
- Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area
- Frog Pond Public Small Game Hunting Area
- Rocky Glades Public Small Game Hunting Area
- Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area
- Holey Land Wildlife Management Area
- Rotenberger Wildlife Management Area
- Big Cypress Wildlife Management Area
Yes. All participants must register to take part in the python removal competition. Participants will receive an email notification that confirms their registration was completed successfully. Participants must have a copy of this notice whether printed or electronic in their possession when removing pythons for the competition.
Yes. The registration fee is $25.00 per person paid to the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida. People can register at any time during the competition. See the official rules for more information.
Yes. All participants must take an easily accessible online training and must pass the training quiz by getting at least 80% of the answers correct. Participants can also elect to take the optional in-person training, which includes a hands-on safe capture component using live, wild-caught pythons. There are also videos that teach people about safe handling guidelines and how to search for Burmese pythons in the wild.
Registered participants do not need a Florida hunting license or a Wildlife Management Area permit unless they are participating in Big Cypress WMA, where they need a hunting license. FWC Python Action Team members must follow the terms and conditions in their contracts while participating in Big Cypress WMA unless they are participating as unpaid and possess a hunting license. All other competitors including general competitors in the “Rookie” category and other “Pros” must follow all hunting rules in Big Cypress WMA.
Yes. To compete in the Python Challenge™, people who are not Florida residents are required to complete the same required online training and registration as Florida residents.
You must be 18 to register for the Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl. Youth under age 18 may accompany a registered adult during the competition.
The Python Challenge™ Toolkit has the key resources you will need, including the data sheet for logging a captured snake, a map of check-station locations, official competition rules, a link to the humane euthanasia protocol, and information on how to respect the Everglades habitat while participating in the competition.
Yes. In 2017, the FWC issued Executive Order 17-11 that allows for year-long lethal take of nonnative reptiles in 22 FWC-managed public lands in south Florida. Neither a hunting license nor WMA permit are required to conduct these activities in these areas.
Dogs are allowed in some areas. Please refer to the specific area brochures for more information.
Drones may be allowed in some areas. Please refer to the specific area brochures for more information.
Participants must drop off pythons by 5 p.m. on the day of capture at an official check-station location. If a participant captures a python on a competition location when check-stations are closed, they must submit their dead python to an official check-station within 24 hours of capture. Live transport of pythons off a competition location is prohibited unless they are acting in their official capacity for the FWC or the SFWMD. A data sheet must be fully completed and submitted for each captured Burmese python for it to be logged to reflect the correct competitor, snake and location. See the official rules for more details.
In most cases, yes. Registered Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl participants who wish to keep the skin of a removed Burmese python should indicate this by checking the box for carcass return on the data sheet turned in with the snake at a check-station location. After the snake is measured for official entry into the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl, participants will be notified to pick up the Burmese python skin at the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center in Davie.
While not every Burmese python skin is marketable, a few companies may be able to tan your Burmese python skin or fashion it into a leather product and return it to you for a fee or they may want to purchase the skin from you.
Visit the Keeping and Selling Skins page for a list of interested companies.
Some Burmese pythons removed from the Everglades that have been tested for mercury levels had amounts that may be unsafe for human consumption. Though it is not illegal to eat python meat, the FWC cautions that neither the Florida Department of Health nor the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have stated that python meat is safe to consume.
All nonnative snakes can be taken to check-station locations. However, only Burmese pythons will be eligible for a prize. Florida’s native snakes are an important part of the ecosystem and should be left unharmed/undisturbed. Be sure you can identify Burmese pythons before you participate. Additional training can be found on our training web page.
Please visit the Python Challenge Prizes page for information on what prizes will be awarded.
The FWC suggests participants contact south Florida hotels to see if they are offering any discounts. Inexpensive or free camping is available in the area; participants can contact local state parks to inquire about camping. Everglades National Park offers inexpensive camping. Free camping is allowed on certain days within the wildlife management areas included in the Python Challenge™. Check the regulations brochures for more information.
The lethal take of nonnative reptiles is allowed year-round in all participating areas except Big Cypress WMA. To report any other nonnative species, please visit IveGot1.org.