Fla. Python Hunt More Wild Goose Chase
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2009 12:05 PM CDT
Police measuring a Burmese python after removing it from a home in Oxford, Fla. The python broke out of a terrarium and strangled a 2-year-old girl in her bedroom at the central Florida home.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The “Great Florida Python Hunt” is on, but the prey population is likely smaller—and less dangerous—than advertised, Paul Quinlan writes in the Palm Beach Post. Proponents have said there could be 100-150,000 Burmese pythons in the Everglades, a figure the media has seized upon. But the biologist who’s the source of the 150,000 number—a “guesstimate”—puts the real figure nearer 30,000.

“We’ve got a lot of politicians that are looking to get elected, and in this type of story, things get exaggerated,” a python hunter says. Which is not to say there’s not a problem, an expert says, when an “exotic, vertebrate predator that weights well over 100 pounds” is loose in a national park.