As of Sunday, South Florida has 102 fewer pythons.
During the Florida Wildlife Commission’s second Python Challenge, participants removed Burmese pythons from in and around the Everglades.
On Feb. 27, the 2016 Python Challenge Awards Ceremony will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Long Key Nature Center in Davie, Florida, a city in Broward County.
Individuals and teams will receive awards for two categories: longest python and most pythons captured.
In 2013, the first-ever Python Challenge resulted in 68 captures. This year’s challenge started Jan. 16, and its goal was to remove the invasive species from Florida’s ecosystem.
The Florida Everglades are currently filled with Burmese pythons, hefty, non-venomous snakes that prey on native Florida species, according to the Python Challenge website.
Carol Lyn Parrish, the public information coordinator for FWC’s South Region, said Burmese pythons are an invasive, non-native species that are legal to be removed year-round.
“As far as the three-year gap between challenges, the challenge is just another effort to motivate others to remove an invasive species,” Parrish said. “It helps the FWC spread our message.”
Before the competition, participants took a required online course or an optional live course, which both outlined how to trap and euthanize pythons.
All participants paid an entrance fee, and the FWC scheduled guidelines for participating areas.
Whether dead or alive, all pythons had to be dropped off at designated locations by 7 p.m. each day.
The challenge website offered three techniques to kill the python. If someone arrived with a live python, the FWC euthanized it, said Parrish.
Kenneth Krysko, collection manager in the Division of Herpetology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, said the detection rate for Burmese pythons is 1 percent.
“For every 100 snakes you pass, you will probably see only one,” he said.
Krysko said high water levels allowed the pythons to move even quicker than usual, creating an obstacle for participants.
“The elusiveness of this species is incredible,” Parrish said.