400 Flock to Everglades for Mass Python Hunt

'Python challenge' attracts participants from all over US

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 7, 2013 12:51 AM CST | Updated Jan 7, 2013 3:45 AM CST

(Newser) – Almost 400 people have signed up to help Florida take on the Burmese pythons squeezing native wildlife out of the Everglades. People from all over the US have joined the monthlong 2013 Python Challenge, which offers prizes including $1,000 for the longest python killed, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. But with no hunting licenses required, some fear that native snakes—and some of the participants—may be in as much danger as the pythons.

"Going out into the bush in Florida is a potentially dangerous thing to do," a prominent Everglades scientist says. "This is very, very rough terrain. Getting stuck out there without enough water could be a life-terminating experience." But he hopes the challenge is a success, because the pythons "could radically change the composition of the species that we find in the Everglades, and the Everglades have enough threats without the snakes. I think extreme measures are extremely appropriate." (And out of Australia, a terrifying python story...)

A Burmese python is wrapped around an American alligator in Everglades National Park.   (AP Photo/National Park Service, Lori Oberhofer)
University of Florida researchers hold a 162-pound Burmese python captured in Everglades National Park.   (AP Photo/ University of Florida, Michael R. Rochford)
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