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2020 Python Challenge Python Bowl aims to tackle invasive species

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Posted at 1:48 PM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 17:01:39-05

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. --- Move over Puppy Bowl, the 2020 Super Bowl has a new sideshow.

In very Florida fashion, Miami-Dade County will host a Python Bowl, in conjunction with the Super Bowl, to hunt the invasive snakes in the Everglades.

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Competing in the Python Bowl will be all about who can track down the longest, heaviest and most Burmese pythons. The event will start Jan. 10, when the public will be able to sign up, get training, and start hunting. Miami-Dade’s Hard Rock Stadium will host the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

“I don’t think the Miami Dolphins are going to be in this year’s Super Bowl, but hopefully the Miami Dolphins python team wins the Python Bowl and we get as many pythons out of Miami-Dade as possible,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said at a news conference Thursday with Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Clad in a suit and tie by a swamp in a Miami wildlife management area, DeSantis announced that the Python Bowl is being planned with the help of the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee.

Holding a python-skin football, he said the competition is intended to be a fun, competitive event to protect the Everglades from the dangerous snakes. It won’t be quite as warm and fuzzy, though, as the Puppy Bowl, which is held each year by the Animal Planet television channel to help find homes for puppies and kittens.

“These pythons can grow up to 20 feet in length, weigh 200 pounds, and the problem is they are not native to this area and they decimate the natural food chains and they really wreak havoc on a lot of the indigenous species,” the governor said.

DeSantis canceled plans to speak Thursday at an annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit due to a "schedule conflict" related to the Python Bowl announcement, spokeswoman Helen Ferre told The News Service of Florida.

“The DeSantis administration was well-represented at the climate summit by Florida’s chief science officer and chief resilience officer,” Ferre said in a statement.

In addition to announcing the Python Bowl, the governor also announced that python contractors will have access to 150 more miles of trails within Big Cypress National Park.