Florida Python Challenge winner catches nearly 11-foot-long snake

Reporter: Amy Galo Writer: Rachel Murphy
Published: Updated:

Amy Siewe earned the prize for the longest snake caught at this year’s Florida python challenge at nearly 11 feet.

Amy Siewe, the Python Huntress, with her python (CREDIT: WINK News)

“It was very lucky. And it was on the last night. As we were leaving to go home,” said Siewe, also known as ‘The Python Huntress.’

A total of 209 invasive Burmese pythons were wrangled this year with over 1000 people competing.

“At its core, it is about raising awareness about invasive species and the negative impacts are having on Florida’s native ecosystems,” said Mckayla Spencer, Florida Fish & Wildlife’s program coordinator.

“The sheer numbers of how many are out there, the rate that they reproduce, and how many we’ve caught,” Siewe said, “It just doesn’t look like we’re gonna be winning this battle anytime soon. We might be doing this forever.”

florida python challenge
Florida’s Python Challenge (CREDIT: Florida Fish and Wildlife)

WINK News asked FWC what their long-term plan is.

“We are working with USGS and the University of Florida right now on some new unique ways to calculate population,” Spencer said, “We are doing a lot of new innovative research working with researchers, one of them is with near-infrared technology. We have one that’s mounted on the infrared technology now, on a vehicle that we’re still testing. We’re working with a group to try and put that technology on a drone to help us better find pythons.”

Siewe said it takes a python about three years to grow to ten feet long and a minimum of 200 mammals and birds to get it there. These snakes can live up to 25 years, so, each one removed from the glades helps keep native species from a quick extinction.

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