Florida plans to bring back public hunt for invasive pythons in the Everglades in early 2016


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MIAMI — Florida is bringing back a public hunt for invasive Burmese pythons in the Everglades.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission plans to hold the next "Python Challenge" early next year. Registration opens in October.

About 1,600 people participated in 2013 during the first monthlong python hunt on state lands. Most of the 68 pythons collected were caught by experienced hunters.

Tens of thousands of pythons may be slithering through the Everglades, and the hunt illustrated how difficult they are to find. Kristen Sommers of the wildlife commission's exotic species coordination section says only about 200 pythons are caught in an average year.

Sommers says the next Python Challenge will increase training for the public to identify the invasive snakes, so that they also can report python sightings year round.

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