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Page last updated at 09:23 GMT, Saturday, 12 January 2013

Florida hunt for 'top predator' pythons


A python hunt in the Florida everglades starts today. Hundreds of people are going to go on the prowl for Burmese pythons which have multiplied in recent years and become predators who are disturbing the ecosystem of the area.

Professor Frank Mazzottiwho researches wildlife ecology at the University Florida and is part of the team behind the hunt told the Today programme's James Naughtie: "The largest python caught was 17 feet and weighed over 150 pounds. But most pythons captured are in the 6 to 9 feet range."

He added: "They are a top predator and because they are so efficient in an ecosystem that is not prepared to receive them, they have potential to have a devastating impact."

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