As the state's month-long Florida Python Challenge winds down, just 50 pythons have been caught so far, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The challenge ends Feb. 10. The pythons are being processed and logged by the University of Florida.
Last month the New York Times reported on a trio of hunters who call themselves the Florida Python Hunters who had caught 8 of the snakes by Jan. 23. At this point, that team may be in the lead for the prize the FWC is offering for the most snakes captured and killed.
“The 2013 Python Challenge is an unprecedented effort to focus public interest, support and direct involvement to help deal with Burmese pythons,” said FWC Chairman Kenneth Wright at the January kickoff news conference.
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According to the FWC, more than 800 people registered to compete in the 2013 Python Challenge, a competition to see who can bring in the longest and the most Burmese pythons from designated public lands in south Florida.
“The FWC is pleased that so many people are joining this earnest effort to limit the impact of this invasive species on Florida’s diverse native wildlife," Wright added at the kcikoff. "Floridians and people from all across the United States truly care about the Florida Everglades, and they are clearly eager to help us better understand and solve this problem."
For competitors, the challenge is to harvest the well-camouflaged Burmese python, which can grow to more than 17 feet in the wild in Florida, with the chance of winning prizes of up to $1,500. Top prizes go to the hunters who bring in the most snakes and the hunter with the largest snake.