30 pythons killed so far in Florida's python hunt

6:34 PM, Jan 25, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Great Florida Python Hunt

Video: Everglades Python Hunt Part 1

Video: FWC: Only 30 snakes killed so far in python hunt

A Burmese python. Photo courtesy Kevin Enge/FWC

Everglades City, Florida -- Florida Fish and Wildlife says the official number of Burmese pythons captured so far as part of its "Great Python Hunt" has reached 30.

That's not many, and it may suggest the snakes are harder to find, craftier, or perhaps just not as numerous as some have suggested.

See Also: Florida's Python Challenge

Estimates have placed the population at more than 100,000, but hunters say based upon their observations, that may be inflated.

Wildlife officials got the month-long hunt started about two weeks ago now as they try to control what some call an exploding population of Burmese pythons, squeezing and consuming everything in their path.

That includes several native species of Florida wildlife.

The vastness of the Everglades is another challenge facing hunters. It spans 2,400 square miles. That's the equivalent of more than a million football fields.

Nonetheless, there are about a thousand people who have signed up for the hunt, and among them is a Bay area guy by the name of Bill Booth. He's actually from Bradenton.

From all indications, Booth could very well end up winning the competition for the most pythons found.

He and his crew already have four of them, one of which was more than 11 feet long.

FWC will award two cash prizes at the end of the month-long hunt: $1,500 to whoever catches the most pythons, and $1,000 to whoever nabs the biggest one.

"Right now we're looking for big Moe, and that's what we call a super snake. Something 15, 16 feet. They are out here and we're trying to locate one," said Booth.

For FWC it's not really about killing the pythons. They know there are just too many of them. It's more what they can learn from the small army of hunters about the snakes' behavior.

That kind of insight that could prove invaluable as the state tries to control the python population, which, if left unchecked, some worry  could decimate native Florida species.

The competition ends February 10.

Follow 10 News Reporter Eric Glasser on twitter @ericglassertv

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