TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Oct. 31 (UPI) — Experts licensed to trap and kill pythons in Florida made only a small dent in the population in four months, officials say.
The 15 trappers have caught 37 Burmese pythons since the hunt began in July, WFOR-TV in Miami reported. It ends Saturday to avoid conflicts with the gun hunting season.
Scott Hardin, the state exotic species coordinator, said the trappers added to available information about the Burmese pythons. Many of the snakes were young and relatively small, no more than 4 feet, and appeared underfed.
Scientists believe the Everglades now has a breeding population of about 100,000 Burmese pythons, descended from pets released by their owners when they got too large to manage. The Burmese python, one of the world’s largest snakes, can grow to more than 20 feet.
The number of young snakes trapped is another proof pythons are breeding in Florida.
Hardin said the state will probably have a second phase of expert hunting for pythons that will begin in January. The number of licenses may be increased to 50.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International