Burmese pythons, though large when fully grown, are notoriously difficult to find. The color and pattern of a python’s skin is designed to help it blend in with surrounding vegetation, allowing this powerful ambush predator to remain virtually undetected when potential prey animals are near. Because the snakes can be difficult to spot and require specific handling guidelines, all participants in the Python Challenge™ will be required to take the Python Challenge™ Online Training Module that will help them more effectively identify and remove them.
We learned from the 2013 Python Challenge™ that participants with more experience or training are more effective at locating and removing pythons from the wild. In addition to the required online training, optional Python Challenge™ In-person Trainings will be offered during the months leading up to the 2016 Python Challenge™.
Trainings for the 2016 Python Challenge™ will educate participants on how to identify, report and safely and humanely capture Burmese pythons. Participants will also learn how to correctly distinguish pythons from native snakes. The first round of trainings will begin in October 2015.
Can’t take part in the 2016 Python Challenge™ but you’d still like to get involved? There are several opportunities for you to help us manage invasive wildlife in Florida. Attend our Invasive Species Awareness Festival and Awards Ceremony events to learn more about nonnative species and how to identify and report them. For those who would like to help remove Burmese pythons and other invasive species throughout the year, we invite you to learn more by visiting MyFWC.com/Python.
Remember, you can photograph and report sightings of nonnative wildlife year-round to the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 1-888-483-4861, online at IVEGOT1.org or by using the free smart phone app IVEGOT1.