How many pythons are in the Everglades? 30,000? 150,000? 200,000?
"No one is out there counting them, because they would have caught them when they were counting them," Dr. Rick Piatt, a python expert in Lakeland, told FOX 13 News.
The number of pythons in the Everglades is now under scrutiny because of the Python Challenge. In the first two weeks of the event, 1,000 hunters had shot only 30 snakes. Piatt says that's evidence the estimates are way off.
He says the python population, whatever it is, should be kept in check. But the issue of pythons in the wild has gotten overblown. Why? He says state officials made getting rid of them a political hot button after an escaped pet python killed a child. He also says the media spread unsubstantiated estimates.
Since pythons are an exotic species, they are a problem in the Everglades. Unchecked, they could eventually damage its delicate ecosystem. But many experts say with the limited information they now have, they can only guess how quickly that might be.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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