Since 2000, more than 17,000 pythons have been removed from the Everglades ecosystem, according to a news release. Burmese pythons, which are not native to Florida, prey on birds, mammals and other reptiles. A female python can lay as many as 100 eggs a year.
Cash prizes of up to $2,500 are available in both the professional and novice categories for those who remove the most pythons, officials said. There are additional prizes for the longest python in each category. Each python must be dead, with hunters facing disqualification if they kill them inhumanely or kill a native snake.