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27 Pythons Killed So Far In Florida’s Python Challenge

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Large Burmese Pythons are regularly encountered in the Everglades. (Source: National Park Service)

Large Burmese Pythons are regularly encountered in the Everglades. (Source: National Park Service)

MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Florida’s Burmese python hunt has netted 27 snakes in the first nine days of the month-long hunt, according to Florida wildlife officials.

The hunt started January 12th in an effort to rid the Everglades of the invasive species.

It’s unknown how many pythons live in the Everglades. Even experienced hunters have a hard time spotting the snakes in the swamplands.

GALLERY: WILD PYTHON ENCOUNTERS

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said more than 1,000 people registered for the state’s month-long “Python Challenge” in hopes of winning cash prizes. The hunters may find more success if colder temperatures drive the snakes onto sunny surfaces.

The snakes killed since the contest began are being examined by University of Florida researchers. Competitors are allowed to keep the python skins, once researchers finish examining the snakes.

Researchers say the large number of hunters will help them gather more information about the snakes’ habits. The snakes are considered a menace to native Florida wildlife, and they face both state and federal bans.

Officials say the large snakes are devouring native wildlife at an alarming rate.

The contest ends Feb. 10.

Click here for more info on the Python Challenge.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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