It's no longer just a Simpsons episode: Florida wildlife officials are enlisting the help of residents to confront the invasion of pythons in the delicate Everglades ecosystem.
The first-ever Python Challenge will take place during the month of January 2013, and contestants will attempt to kill as many Burmese pythons as they can. A $1,500 prize will be awarded to the contestant with the most kills, and an additional $1,000 will be awarded for the longest snake. A hunting license is not required.
Burmese pythons, a popular exotic pet, started appearing in the Everglades in the late '70s after escaping—or being released—from people's homes. The pythons, which have no natural predators in the Everglades and are known to eat birds, rodents, reptiles, and mammals, are considered a major threat to the region's endangered species. The U.S. banned their import in January of this year.