Professional python elimination specialist Donna Kalil walked away the winner of Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation with your not-so-typical trophy. The conservation group tweeted a picture of their victor holding a gigantic snake.
The snake removal challenge was first instituted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation back in 2015 when it became apparent that Burmese pythons were threatening the sensitive plant and animal eco-systems that exist in the Florida everglades. These ravenous snakes are not native to the everglades, and they pose serious peril to the fragile plant and animal life within the Everglades. Willing participants can sign up for the annual event in one of two categories, either novice or professional, and there are awards given in both categories to the most successful hunters. There are also special awards reserved for and given to participants who have military backgrounds.
Donna Kalil started hunting these snakes since the challenge’s inception and has participated in every subsequent event since. According to her personal website, Kalil has come a long way since she captured her first snake back in 2015. She is now the head of the Everglades Avenger Team, and with the help of her colleagues, she has removed over 100 of these deadly and dangerous snakes.
Even though hunting these massive pythons is a treacherous undertaking, the response from willing participants, both novice and professional, is overwhelming and humbling. It truly is a testament to the dedication that the community has to preserving and protecting the beautiful and unique eco-systems that exist in harmonious tandem to constitute what is the Florida Everglades. In fact, the turnout for this year’s snake-seeking event was the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation’s best on record. Referencing the results that were released on August 5th, more than 600 people stepped up to the challenge and were able to round up a collective total of 223 massive pythons.
While Donna Kalil might have walked away the grand prize winner in the professional category for removing a total of 19 snakes, the ultimate grand prize went to novice hunter, Charles Dachton who was able to track and secure an impressive 41 snakes. Brandon Call, another novice, took the title for catching the longest python. Call’s catch measured in at a total of 15-feet, 9-inches long. Chauncey Goss, Chairman of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board, took particular notice to the success of those in the novice category and made the important observation that “The fact that the Ultimate Grand Prize Winner is a novice and not a professional python hunter demonstrates that, with the right training and education, even beginners can make a difference in removing Burmese pythons.”
Eliminating the threat of snakes to the Florida Everglades’ eco-systems seems to be in some competent hands; however, snakes outside of the Everglades could be getting a run for their money in terms of where they fall on the scale of just how deadly they are. That title just might have to go to a certain species of spider. If that wasn’t mind-blowing enough, Giant Freakin’ Robot recently reported that snakes are now being utilized in Japan to test how radioactive a particular area is. Whether you love snakes or you fear them, what is undoubtedly undeniable is just how complex and versatile they can be.