MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — A record number of Burmese python have been caught less than a year after two Florida agencies decided to combine forces and remove the invasive snakes from the Everglades.

The News-Press reported that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Southwest Florida Water Management District removed nearly 2,000 invasive pythons in the first eight months of 2020, surpassing 2019 totals. As of mid-October, the teams removed nearly 4,000 snakes bringing the total snakes removed since the program’s inception in 2017 to 6,278.

“That’s also bad news by the way, I just want to point out that there’s that many snakes,” said FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton, during a recent meeting.

Invasive Burmese pythons pose a great risk for small mammal populations in the Everglades. The snakes pose a huge risk to the overall ecology of the Everglades, experts say. Researchers concluded that of the total number of marsh rabbits tracked for the experiment, 77% were killed by pythons.

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Breeders and owners introduced pythons to the Everglades by dumping the unwanted snakes into the wild. Female Burmese pythons can carry between 50-100 eggs.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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