The Florida Everglades is an extraordinary ecosystem, unlike any other in the world! It is home to a variety of rare and unique wildlife including native birds, mammals, fish and reptiles. However, some reptiles do not belong there and pose a threat to native wildlife. To address this, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is teaming up with the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida to bring back the Python Challenge™ in January 2016, along with a Burmese Python Removal Competition that runs from January 16 through February 14 in south Florida. This exciting conservation effort will help protect the rare Everglades ecosystem and the animals that live there from these invasive, nonnative snakes.

In the early winter of 2013, nearly 1,600 participants in the first Python Challenge™ trekked through more than a million acres of swamps and sawgrass in search of the well-camouflaged Burmese python. With the 2016 Python Challenge™, you too can join us in the Burmese Python Removal Competition this January and February in participating areas around south Florida! And for those not registered for the python removal competition, there are still plenty of ways you can get involved. Learn more about our upcoming family-friendly events, enter one of our online contests, attend a Python Challenge™ in-person training (you don’t have to be a registered participant to attend), check out the official gear, or even become a sponsor! By getting involved with the 2016 Python Challenge™, you are helping to conserve the Florida Everglades and the native wildlife that call this national treasure home.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions in our FAQs.

Notice: The Big Cypress WMA is now closed to the Python Removal Competition for the remainder of the Python Challenge™ as stated in the rules.

High water levels have prompted the FWC to issue an executive order temporarily restricting public access to Everglades and Francis S. Taylor, Holey Land and Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas (WMA). This action is necessary because high water levels force area wildlife to take refuge on tree islands and levees, resulting in higher levels of stress for these animals.  See the participating areas that are open.

Also, due to current conditions, there are some road closures in Picayune Strand State Forest/Wildlife Management Area. Stewart Road is closed from between Faka Union Canal and Jane’s Scenic Drive in Fakahatchee Strand State Park until further notice. Triple G Road is also closed due to flooding until further notice. Please refer to the Picayune Strand State Forest page on the Florida Forest Service website for the most recent information on road closures.

Update!
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BURMESE PYTHONS WERE TURNED IN TO 2016 PYTHON CHALLENGE™ DROP OFF LOCATIONS AS OF MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8. THE PYTHONS ARE BEING PROCESSED AND LOGGED BY OUR PARTNERS FOR THE 2016 PYTHON CHALLENGE™. THE NEXT UPDATE WILL BE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12.