FLORIDA EVERGLADES (January 18, 2013)—Twenty-one Burmese pythons have been killed so far in a public hunt for the invasive species in the Everglades, Florida wildlife officials say.
It's unknown how many pythons live in the Everglades; even experienced hunters have a hard time spotting the snakes in the swamplands.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said more than 1,000 people registered for the state's month-long "Python Challenge."
The hunters may get lucky if colder temperatures drive the cold-blooded animals onto sunny surfaces.
The University of Florida will process the dead snakes and the state hopes to apply the data gleaned from the carcasses to management plans for the Everglades.
Officials say the large snakes are devouring native wildlife at an alarming rate.
The contest ends Feb. 10.