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Winter devastates pythons in Everglades

WEST PALM BEACH — Florida's first python hunting season ends Saturday with no reptiles reported captured and killed, wildlife officials said Friday.

The season opened March 8 for anyone with a hunting license who paid a $26 permit fee to hunt nonnative reptiles on state-managed lands around the Everglades.

But the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission thinks the unseasonably cold winter weather got to the pythons first, killing up to half of them.

Scott Hardin, exotic species coordinator, said nine out of 10 pythons scientists had been tracking with radio collars in Everglades National Park apparently died from the weather.

But he said the species remains a threat, with an estimated tens of thousands of pythons in the Glades.

The critters have few natural enemies in the Glades and feed on endangered species. The constrictors can grow to 26 feet and weigh more than 200 pounds.

Winter devastates pythons in Everglades 04/16/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:51pm]

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