17 Pythons Caught So Far In FL Challenge

MIAMI (AP) _ Officials say so far, 17 Burmese pythons have been caught during the hunt for the invasive species in Florida’s wetlands.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced the tally Tuesday.

The state’s second public hunt for the exotic snakes started Saturday and ends Feb. 14. Over 500 people have registered to look for pythons across a swath of state lands in South Florida.

Some authorized hunters also are allowed to extend the hunt into Everglades National Park.

The snake-catching festival attempts to reduce South Florida’s population of the giant constrictors.

Spokeswoman Carli Segelson says so far, the hunt is accomplishing its goals, both in catching snakes and raising awareness about the threat invasive species pose to native Florida plants and wildlife.