Photo by Chad Sparkes/Flickr
A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer found a beast of a Burmese python on Monday, Jan. 18.
While on duty in Miami's Rocky Glades Small Game Area, the officer came across a 16-foot-10-inch python lying out in the sun, reports the organization's Facebook page
. The reptile goliath was caught and euthanized as part of the annual Python Challenge, which started Jan. 16 and ends on Valentine's Day.
As of today, 17 pythons have been captured.
Photo via MyFWC Facebook page
Due to being an officer, the capturer is ineligible for the "Longest Python Grand Prize" cash prize.
According to the official website
, the event debuted in 2013, and close to 1,600 people took part in the hunt.
People don't just get together every year to kill the snakes for fun, however. It was brought to the public in an attempt to combat the escalating population of the invasive species. The Burmese python poses a threat to the natural ecosystem of the area because a lack of local predators allows it to multiply at an alarming rate. The Python Challenge is done with the hope of controlling the species' population.
Those who wish to participate must register for the event and complete an online training session. Even if someone passes through these hurdles and manages to capture a snake, it is recommended on the event's FAQ page that they ignore the temptation to eat the animal.