Of 68 pythons found, one constrictor snake measured over 14-feet long. Saturday, the results of the 2013 Python Challenge, which attracted over 1,000 hunters in the Florida Everglades, were announced. Several participants won various prizes for killing over 60 Burmese pythons.
In a Feb. 18 report, CNN said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation said the contest, which ran from Jan. 12-Feb. 10, attracted 1,600 registrants and paid out prizes up to $1,500. The results of the 68 pythons captured were as follows:
Snake hunter, Ruben Ramirez, who hails from Miami, netted the most with 18 pythons caught in the professional category.
Brian Barrows from Fort Myers, Fla. took home $1,500 for capturing and killing six snakes in the amateur category.
And while he didn't win the largest prize, all eyes were on the biggest constrictor caught. That honor went to Paul Shannon of Lehigh Acres, who won $1,000 for the longest python captured. The Burmese python measured 14 feet and three inches.
Since 1979, Florida has become infested with the snake species, largely due to owners abandoning them to the wild for various reasons. Because the large snakes have no natural predators, they've adapted to prey on native species like protected birds and land animals.
Over time, many pythons began to target residential areas for domestic animals like dogs, cats, chickens and others.
The annual "Challenge" is designed to cut down on the growing numbers of invasive snakes. And while they number over 100,000, the reptiles are hard to catch.
"You can go out there for days and days and days and not see one python. I don't care how much experience you have. It is going to take some luck," said snake hunter Justin Matthews.
While 68 pythons found hardly make a dent in the overall numbers, it created awareness and bragging rights.