August 6, 2021
The 2021 Florida Python Challenge® yielded unprecedented results this year with participants removing 223 invasive Burmese pythons from south Florida. More than 600 people participated in the 10-day competition, designed to increase awareness about invasive species and the threats they pose to Florida’s ecology.
Charles Dachton won the $10,000 Ultimate Grand Prize, for removing 41 pythons. The longest python removed in the competition was 15 feet, 9 inches, removed by Brandon Call.
“Everglades restoration and the protection of water resources has been a top priority of my administration since day one. Invasive Burmese pythons have wreaked havoc in the Everglades, negatively impacting the ecosystem and biodiversity. At my direction, FWC and the South Florida Water Management District have taken steps to increase python removal efforts, and the unprecedented success of the 2021 Florida Python Challenge® is a great example of the progress Florida has made battling these invasive species. Removing more than 200 Burmese pythons is a victory for our state as well as for the native animals that live here,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.
“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, we have made great progress in removing invasive pythons from the Everglades ecosystem! Removing more than 100 recently hatched pythons from the wild has stopped these snakes before they could disperse and cause future impacts to our native wildlife. That’s a great accomplishment with exponential benefits!” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto.
“The fact that the Ultimate Grand Prize Winner is a novice and not a professional python hunter demonstrates that, with the right training and education, even beginners can make a difference in removing Burmese pythons. We thank Governor Ron DeSantis for his leadership, inspiring people from all over the country to get involved with this effort.” said Chauncey Goss, Chairman of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board.
Under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), South Florida Water Management District and the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida host the Florida Python Challenge® to continue raising awareness about invasive species in Florida and their impacts. The annual competition encourages people to get directly involved in Everglades conservation through invasive species removal. This year, Virtual Business Services provided the $10,000 reward for the Ultimate Grand Prize while the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida provided the additional prizes. Visit FLPythonChallenge.org for more information.
Burmese pythons are not native to Florida and negatively impact native species. They are found primarily in and around the Everglades ecosystem in south Florida where they prey on birds, mammals and other reptiles. A female Burmese python can lay 50 to 100 eggs at a time. Since 2000, more than 13,000 Burmese pythons have been removed from the state of Florida.
The public can help control invasive species by reporting nonnative fish and wildlife to the FWC’s Invasive Species Hotline at 888-IVE-GOT1 (888-483-4681), by reporting sightings online at IveGot1.orgor by downloading the IveGot1 smartphone app. For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Nonnatives.
The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the FWC and other public and private partners to conserve Florida’s native animals and plants, and the lands and waters they need to survive. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has raised and donated $50 million to conservation and outdoor recreation and education. More information can be found at WildlifeFlorida.org.