17 pythons were already caught in the Florida hunt. This year, more than 600 people have registered in Florida’s 2nd Python Challenge. The men and women paid a $25 fee and came from 24 states just for the hunt. The first time this contest has been held, three years ago, 68 pythons have been caught. This year is the second time this hunting is done and more pythons are hoped to be hunted.
According to the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission in Florida, the pythons are very difficult to find in the Everglades due to their camouflage, especially by amateurs. The pythons that live in the North America are not native to these areas, so they have no natural predators. The Burmese pythons are native to parts of India and Asia. It is believed that they have been released in these areas either by the Andrew Hurricane in 1992, either intentionally by humans. Most of the times, they are believed to have been released into the wild by pet owners. They are considered to be one of the most invasive species in the United States.
Surveys done in the Everglades National Park, showed that the population of small mammals has been decreasing at an alarming rate. The pythons can strangle and eat anything from rabbits to panthers and bears. They can even eat alligators and they can live even 25 years. The pythons can weigh up to 200 pounds and can reach even 20 feet. The mottled skin of these massive snakes blends perfectly with the wetlands in Florida.
During the first event of the python hunting, the participants were showed how to catch and bag the pythons with bare hands. The main points are that the hunter needs to surprise the animal and come from behind and that the head needs to be pinned down immediately, before the snake can do anything. If the technique is not done right, the hunter can be hurt by the snake that can either bite or wrap its body around the person. In the hunt are allowed guns and machetes as well. The winner of the challenge that lasts for one full month is the one who catches the most pythons. The prize consists of $3,500.
17 pythons were already caught in the Florida hunt that began last Saturday, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Since 2002, more than 2,000 pythons have been removed from the Everglades area, but experts believe that the number represents only one third of the python population in Florida.
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