Dec 4, 2009 8:19 AM by Associated Press

Florida officials extend python program year-round

Florida is looking for a few good python catchers now that the state's hunting program is being expanded into a year-long effort.

A state official says the goal is to make sure the exotic species doesn't spread any farther north in Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had launched the program as a four-month test. The first-ever state-sanctioned hunt ended in October with 37 of the giant constrictors being killed.

The number of pythons in South Florida has exploded in the past decade. Scientists believe pet owners released their snakes into the wild when they became too big to keep.

They also think some Burmese pythons escaped in 1992 from pet shops battered by Hurricane Andrew and have been reproducing ever since.


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