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UF researchers studying Burmese pythons

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University of Florida researchers are analyzing the Burmese pythons harvested as part of Florida’s “Python Challenge.” According to the event website, the purpose of the challenge is to raise public awareness about Burmese pythons and the threat they pose to the Everglades ecosystem.

The challenge began Jan. 12, and more than two dozen pythons have been killed and UF experts are using them for research. Researchers said the large number of hunters will help them gather more information about the snakes.

Dr. Frank Mazzotti, a UF wildlife ecology professor, said his team is in charge of species management, meaning all of the snakes caught during the challenge will be brought to them for research.

He and his team will be using samples taken from the necropsies to address questions regarding genetics and contaminants they could be carrying and further diet studies.

Though the researchers are currently working with 27 snakes, they are expecting more when the challenge ends on Feb. 10. They are waiting until the challenge is over to make any certain analysis about the python’s effect on Florida’s native wildlife.

Additional updates on the number of snakes harvested will be posted on the Python Challenge website.

About Mike Llerena

Mike is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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