With this year’s Ultimate Grand Prize set at $10,000, the 2021 Annual Florida Python Challenge blew away all expectations.
The 10-day event ran from July 9 to 18, and now we have the results! A whopping 223 invasive Burmese pythons were removed from south Florida in those 10 days.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports over 600 people participating in 2021’s competition. Which exists, at its heart, to increase awareness of this destructive invasive species and the enormous toll Burmese pythons take on Florida’s ecology.
As for that $10,000 Ultimate Grand Prize, Outsider sends a huge congratulations to Charles Dachton! Dachton takes home the $10k for bringing in an astounding 41 pythons.
Out of all 223 invasive Burmese, the longest specimen measures in at a staggering 15 feet, 9 inches. The snake’s removal came courtesy of novice Brandon Call, who beat out professional Dusty Crum’s longest python by 4 inches. However, both men walk away with $1,500 for their gargantuan serpents.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Prides Himself On Python Challenge
“Everglades restoration and the protection of water resources has been a top priority of my administration since day one,” says Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in celebration of the 2021 competition.
“Invasive Burmese pythons have wreaked havoc in the Everglades, negatively impacting the ecosystem and biodiversity… Removing more than 200 Burmese pythons is a victory for our state as well as for the native animals that live here,” Gov. DeSantis continues.
FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto sends praise on behalf of Gov. DeSantis, as well. Thanks to his leadership, Barreto says, “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!”
Moreover, Chairman of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board, Chauncey Goss, adds that “The fact that the Ultimate Grand Prize Winner is a novice and not a professional python hunter also demonstrates that, with the right training and education, even beginners can make a difference in removing Burmese pythons.”
The Deal With Burmese in Florida: It’s Bad
“So why go through all this trouble for snakes?” asked no Outsider ever.
The Florida Everglades ecosystem happens to be a perfect habitat for the giant snakes, making the state’s problem with the pests all the worse. A single female Burmese can lay up to 100 eggs in a single clutch – so you can see how this is a truly terrifying problem.
From 2000 to present day, over 13,000 Burmese pythons have been removed from Florida. From a wildlife and ecological standpoint – that is an astounding number.
For a full list of 2021’s prize winners in the Annual Florida Python Challenge, click here.