Python Elimination Program
The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board is taking aggressive action to protect the Everglades and eliminate invasive pythons from across the landscape. Starting in March 2017, the Python Elimination Program incentivizes a limited number of public-spirited individuals to humanely euthanize these destructive snakes which have become an invasive apex predator in the Everglades. The program provides access to python removal agents on designated lands in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier, Hendry, Lee, and Palm Beach counties.
Now Accepting New Applications
The program is now accepting applications for new python removal agents. All submitted applications will be kept on file and reviewed whenever positions become available. More information on program eligibility and requirements is available in the "Program Details" and "Frequently Asked Questions" sections below. Thank you for your interest.
Python removal agents will be paid:
- An hourly rate ($10.00 per hour or $15.00 per hour depending on the area) for up to ten (10) hours each day while actively searching for pythons on designated lands.
- An additional incentive payment of $50.00 for each python measuring up to four (4) feet plus an extra $25.00 for each foot measured above four (4) feet. See example below:
- An additional $200.00 for each verified active nest.
- News Releases
- SFWMD, FWC Hunters Remove Record Breaking Invasive Python from the Everglades - Oct. 8, 2020
- Gov. Ron DeSantis Directs SFWMD Governing Board to Expand Python Elimination Program - Sept. 12, 2019
- FWC, SFWMD Announce Milestone in Effort to Restore the Everglades: 5,000 Burmese Pythons Removed - July 28, 2020
- 80 Pythons Submitted During the 2020 Python Bowl! - Jan. 25, 2020
- Florida Python Challenge 2020 Python Bowl Awards Celebration Jan. 24 - Jan. 24, 2019
- Gov. Ron DeSantis Directs SFWMD Governing Board to Expand Python Elimination Program- Sept. 12,2019
- SFWMD Python Hunters Nearing 2,000 Snakes Eliminated – Jan. 23, 2019
- Ssssseventeen (and a Half) Feet of Snake Sets Python Program Record – Nov. 7, 2018
- SFWMD Python Hunts = Two Miles of Invasive Snakes Eliminated – Oct. 5, 2018
- SFWMD Python Elimination Program Grows Bigger And More Aggressive With Broward and Collier Counties Expansion – June 16, 2017
- SFWMD Governing Board Takes Action to Protect the Everglades – March 9, 2017
- Presentations to SFWMD Governing Board
- Photo Gallery
The charts below track the ongoing progress of program python removal agents. The charts are updated as python removal agents turn in pythons to SFWMD staff for measurement.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus)
- Northern African Python (Python sebae sebae)
- Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus)
- Southern African Python (Python sebae natalensis)
- Amethystine/Scrub Python (Morelia amethistina)
- Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor)
- Yellow Anaconda (Eunectes notaeus)
- Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus)
- Beni Anaconda (Eunectes beniensis)
- DeSchauensee’s Anaconda (Eunectes deschauenseei)
To be eligible, python removal agents must:
- Be at least eighteen (18) years of age
- Possess a valid driver's license
- Possess a valid email address
- Have a bank account for direct deposit
- Have an iOS or Android mobile device that allows for download and utilization of the required Program Software
- Consent to be tracked using the GPS tracking app
- Sign a waiver of liability
- Have not been convicted of a felony or wildlife-related offense within the last seven (7) years
- Consent to submit to a criminal background check
- Consent to using the program software
There are limited positions available, and we will maintain up to fifty (50) contractors.
Python removal agents will have independent access to Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area, Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park, Frog Pond and Rocky Glades Public Small Game Hunting Areas, and other designated lands in South Florida.
Python removal agents will receive $10.00 per hour or $15.00 per hour depending on the area for up to ten (10) hours each day while actively searching for pythons on designated lands. For all eliminated pythons, the District will make an additional payment per python: $50.00 for pythons measuring up to four (4) feet, and an extra $25.00 for every foot measured above four (4) feet. See example below:
Python removal agents must provide all their own equipment necessary to engage in program activities.
Yes. Firearm use must be consistent with the terms of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) permit issued to SFWMD, as well as local, State and Federal regulations.
Python removal agents are required to download and utilize free cloud-based time and GPS tracking software, along with an electronic data collection system, on their GPS-enabled mobile device while conducting surveys. These are the methods used to verify python removal agent's time and location while engaging in program activities.
Yes. Python removal agents may bring up to three (3) unpaid assistants with them while engaging in program activities. Before being allowed to accompany python removal agents during program activities, each assistant must:
- Submit a photocopy of their ID
- Submit to criminal background screening
- Sign a liability waiver
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have prior approval by the SFWMD project manager
Non-contractors may remove pythons from private lands with landowner permission, and from certain public lands with no permit required. However, because Burmese pythons are a regulated species, they cannot be transported alive and must be humanely euthanized on-site. For more information on removing Burmese pythons on public and private lands, please visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's website at myfwc.com/python.
No. Only designated contractors are eligible for compensation in the Python Elimination Program.
The non-native Burmese python was likely introduced to Florida's Everglades by accidental or intentional releases by pet owners. Once sought-after commodities, pythons have been sold by breeders as pets or showpieces to exotic animal collectors. Since making their way into the bountiful grounds of the Everglades, these giant constrictors have thrived, assuming a top position on the food web.
While researchers have been hard pressed to provide specific population numbers in the Everglades, a rapid number of increased sightings from 2005 to 2010 is concerning. The species was once relegated to only Everglades National Park and Miami-Dade County, but recent tracking shows pythons are moving westward into locations such as Big Cypress National Preserve and northward into Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Burmese pythons possess an insatiable appetite. They can not only kill Florida native prey species and pose a threat to humans, but also rob panthers, birds of prey, alligators and bobcats of a primary food source.
A University of Florida study published in 2015 researched invasive pythons' impact on indigenous food sources. Researchers released 95 adult marsh rabbits in areas of the Everglades known to harbor pythons. Within 11 months of the release, the study showed that pythons accounted for 77 percent of rabbit deaths, reducing prey for native predators.