New Winner Declared In Python Challenge

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It took an extra day, but there’s a new winning snake in the state’s 2013 “Python Challenge.”

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission officially said Sunday that Blake Russ of Fruitland Park should have been the winner of the $1,000 prize for capturing the longest Burmese python.

But, officials gave Ruben Ramirez of Miami the prize Saturday for a snake more than 10 feet long. Wildlife officials said Ramirez will keep his prize money and an additional $1,000 will be given to Russ for capturing a python more than 11 feet long.

University of Florida professor Frank Mazzotti said the mixup was his fault and that unlike other snakes, Russ’ snake was released with a tracking device.

Paul Shannon of Lehigh Acres also won $1,000 for a 14-foot-3-inch snake among competitors with python permits.

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