Python hunters have captured and killed their 500th Burmese python in less than five months, the South Florida Water Management District announced Thursday.
The district's Python Elimination Program hit the major milestone after hunter Jason Leon killed the 500th snake, measuring at 7 feet.
"The speed with which hunters are finding and eliminating these destructive snakes showcases not only their dedication to the effort, but also the enormity of this invasive predator problem in the Everglades," said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O'Keefe.
The program started back in March and a handful of professional python hunters were selected to participate. Barefoot hunter Dustin "Wildman" Crum holds the record for the largest snake killed with a 16-foot-10-inch snake, while hunter Michael Valcarce has killed the most pythons: 52.
The invasive Burmese python, which breeds and multiplies quickly, has wreaked havoc in the Everglades ecosystem.