Ochopee – Thursday July 14, 2022: A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer and a python removal contractor this week found and removed two Burmese pythons, and a clutch of eggs and hatchlings from Big Cypress National Preserve in Ochopee.
While out on patrol in the Preserve on the evening of July 11, FWC Officer Matthew Rubenstein encountered South Florida Water Management District python removal contractor, Alex McDuffie.
McDuffie was in the process of catching and bagging a Burmese python hatchling which appeared to be freshly hatched, so the pair joined forces and began searching the area for other hatchlings.
Soon they found a female Burmese python on a nest containing 23 unhatched eggs and 18 additional python hatchlings. Nearby, they found a separate nest site but no snakes were present.
Later, McDuffie reported to Officer Rubenstein that he went back to the same site the following evening where he found and removed a second breeding female that measured 17 feet, 6 inches long.
All the snakes and unhatched eggs were turned over to Big Cypress National Preserve.
2022 Florida Python Challenge
The FWC is partnering with the South Florida Water Management District and the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida for the 2022 Florida Python Challenge.
The annual 10-day event will be held August 5-14. Members of the public are now able to take the required online training and register to compete to win thousands of dollars in prizes while removing invasive Burmese pythons from the wild.
The competition is open to both professional and novice participants. Active duty military personnel and veterans who register for the competition will be eligible for additional prizes.
Visit: FLPythonChallenge.org to register for the competition, take the online training, register for optional in-person trainings, learn more about Burmese pythons and the unique Everglades ecosystem, and find resources for planning your trip to south Florida to participate in the Florida Python Challenge®.
Participants in the 2021 Florida Python Challenge® removed 223 invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades, more than double the number that were removed in 2020. Over 600 people from 25 states registered to take part in the 10-day competition in 2021.
In addition to python removal efforts on public lands, pythons may be humanely killed on private lands at any time with landowner permission — no permit or hunting license required — and the FWC encourages people to remove and kill pythons from private lands whenever possible.
About Invasive Burmese Pythons
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. More than 16,000 Burmese pythons have been removed since 2000.
For more information on Burmese pythons, visit: MyFWC.com/Python.