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Florida hunters capture 106 Burmese pythons; Tampa Bay area team caught 15-footer

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Florida wildlife officials say 106 Burmese pythons were caught during a state-sanctioned hunt for the invasive snakes. The longest was 15 feet.

More than 1,000 people from 29 states registered to remove pythons from South Florida’s wetlands from Jan. 16 through Feb. 14.

Frank Mazzotti of the University of Florida says the stomach contents of the captured pythons are still being analyzed, but so far the prey has included a fawn and a wood stork and other large wading birds. Once the necropsies are finished, about a third of the pythons will be made into wallets, shoes, belts or handbags.

That 15-foot snake was caught by a team from the Tampa Bay area.

Bill Booth and his snake wrangling partners, Dusty Crum and Dwayne Clark, don’t run from snakes. Snakes typically run from them.

“This year we caught a total of 33 including a 15-footer,” they said.

“They’re out there in the grass and they’re camouflaged and you just got to get out there and ride bikes, walk, drive trucks. There’s all different kinds of ways. We cover hundreds and hundreds of miles of the 30-day period that we stay down there,” said Booth, a professional python hunter.

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