More Than 400 Ready To Hunt Pythons In Fla.

MIAMI (AP) — More than 400 people have signed up to hunt Burmese pythons on public lands in South Florida.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is holding a month-long “Python Challenge” and offering cash prizes to whoever brings in the longest python and whoever bags the most pythons.

The hunt starts at 1 p.m. Saturday and ends at midnight Feb. 10.

The Burmese python is an invasive species that experts say is decimating native wildlife in the Florida Everglades. Florida currently prohibits possession or sale of the pythons for use as pets. Federal law bans the importation and interstate sale of this species.

For the first time, the public is joining licensed hunters in the search for the snakes. Officials hope the competition will help rid the Everglades of the invaders.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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