The contest will run from July 9 to 18 and will include prizes for professional python hunters and novices. In both categories, there will be a $2,500 prize for catching the most pythons and $1,500 for the longest.
The pythons, which can grow to 20 feet and 200 pounds, are descended from pets released starting five decades ago. The big serpents are overrunning the Everglades and have been devouring native mammal and bird populations.
Each adult female lays between 60 and 100 eggs per year. Once the snakes reach adulthood in about five years they have no Florida predators besides armed humans and the occasional sawgrass death match with an adult alligator.