16-foot python captured during Florida Python Challenge - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

16-foot python captured during Florida Python Challenge

picture by FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION picture by FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - The annual python hunting challenge started just a few days ago and one monster has already been wrangled.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said one of their officers was patrolling Monday in the Rocky Glades Small Game Area near Homestead.

The officer came across a 16-foot, 10-inch Burmese python sunning itself on a levy.

FWC said the reptile was humanely euthanized and will be given to scientists to collect data.

The Florida Python Challenge began Jan.16 and will conclude Feb. 14.  Individuals and teams can still sign up for a chance to win thousands of dollars in prizes.

Rules say that FWC officers are not eligible for entry into the competition, and cannot take home any of the cash prizes either.

As of Wednesday morning, officials said 17 Burmese pythons have been caught during the hunt.

The month-long challenge takes place annually in an effort to help conserve Florida’s greater Everglades ecosystem.

More than 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.

Copyright 2016 Scripps Media, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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