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400 Apply to Hunt Pythons; Home Filled With Reptiles Found

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Nearly 400 people from 17 different states have signed up for the 2013 Python Challenge this weekend in the Everglades, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. There are cash prizes for the longest snake, and for the hunter who nabs the most, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Meanwhile, a couple in Pinellas County faces animal cruelty charges for keeping nearly 300 animals -- including seven pythons and many other reptiles -- in poor condition in and around their home, the Tampa Bay Times reports. 
In addition, the Oldsmar couple was charged with child abuse or neglect after they reported their 16-month-child was missing. The child turned out to be in the care of a relative, not kidnapped. While investigating, the Sheriff's Office discovered the Burmese pythons, 20 other snakes, about one hundred bearded lizards and other animals, the Times reports.

Lottie Watts covers health and health policy for Health News Florida, now a part of WUSF Public Media. She also produces Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show.