The Super Bowl festivities begin this week in South Florida, but snake hunters were agog about another annual event -- the Python Bowl that ended in the Everglades National Park on Saturday.
Hunters caught 80 Burmese pythons as more than 750 people from 20 states competed in the 10-day event, according to a news release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The wildlife commission and the South Florida Water Management District announced the results and winners of the Python Removal Competition during a ceremony in Miami on Saturday, WFTX reported.
Here are the winners by category:
- Mike Kimmel removed eight pythons, earning him the top prize for the most snakes, a Tracker 570 ATV.
- Barry Offenburger won $1,000 in the military category for catching three pythons.
- Tom Rahill won $2,000 for capturing the longest snake — a 12-foot-7.3-inch python –– and won another $2,000 because it was the heaviest, tipping the scales at 62 pounds.
- Dave Mucci won $1,000 for an 11-foot python, the longest snake caught in the military category. He also won $1,000 for a 49.4-pounder.
Florida holds the Python Bowl annually to put the squeeze on the Burmese python, a nonvenomous constrictor. According to conservationists, the snakes, estimated in the tens of thousands in the Everglades, pose a threat to native wildlife.
Because they have few predators, Burmese pythons have flourished in the swamps of South Florida, eating animals ranging from rabbits to alligators, the Sun-Sentinel reported.