Florida's Python Hunt a Flop?

1,500 hunters kill ... 50

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 8, 2013 11:13 AM CST

(Newser) – More underwhelming news for Florida's "Python Challenge": Despite 1,500 would-be snake hunters joining in the month-long attempt to thin out the Burmese pythons living in the Florida Everglades, just 50 snakes have been killed or captured, reports the Telegraph. "They are very evasive," explains one wildlife official. "It's kind of luck of the draw, if you just happen to be in the right place at the right time when one of these things is out there." Estimates on how many are in fact out there range from 1,500 to 150,000.

But perhaps the less-than-stellar results don't signal disaster? Wildlife officials say eradicating pythons from the Everglades was never the goal of the challenge. Instead, they hoped to raise awareness about the snake's threat to native wildlife. And stumbles like this one are surely bringing awareness to the hunt, if nothing else: Yesterday afternoon two hunters from Tennessee went missing and had to be rescued by helicopter, reports the AP. The two men were lightheaded and dehydrated, but did not need to be hospitalized. The Python Challenge ends Sunday.

In this Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 file photo, a Burmese python is displayed at the kick-off ceremonies in Davie, Fla., for the 2013 Python Challenge.
In this Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 file photo, a Burmese python is displayed at the kick-off ceremonies in Davie, Fla., for the 2013 "Python Challenge."   (AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File)
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