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A captured 13-foot-long Burmese python is displayed for snake hunters and the media before heading out in airboats for the Python Challenge. Nearly 800 people have signed up to hunt Burmese pythons on public lands in Florida as part of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s month-long “Python Challenge.” (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

New winner announced for Florida’s Python Challenge

February 19, 2013 at 10:25 AM

The Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) — There’s a new winning snake in the state’s “Python Challenge.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Sunday that Blake Russ of Fruitland Park should have won $1,000 for bagging the longest Burmese python. Russ competed with hunters holding special permits for harvesting pythons.

Ruben Ramirez of Miami was given the prize Saturday for a snake more than 10 feet long. Wildlife officials say Ramirez, who won the competition for most snakes caught with 18, will keep his prize money. Russ will get $1,000 of his own for a snake more than 11 feet long.

University of Florida professor Frank Mazzotti says the mix-up was his mistake. Unlike other snakes killed in the hunt, Russ’ snake was released with a tracking device.

Among competitors without the python permits, Paul Shannon of Lehigh Acres won $1,000 for 14-foot-3-inch snake.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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