"The haul from Florida’s much-ballyhooed Python Challenge, which wrapped up at midnight Sunday, may not sound impressive. After all, nearly 1,600 people signed up for a month-long hunt to win cash for catching an invasive species that has gobbled up everything from egrets to alligators in the Everglades.
In reality, the effort bagged pretty much what many scientists, reptile experts and Florida wildlife managers expected — lots of publicity, also known as public awareness, and lots of data for researchers. It also produced what may wind up ranking as a record monthly count of Burmese python skins, though the bounty hunt was never envisioned as a way to eradicate them.
Ultimately, the challenge wound up underlining the difficulty of controlling — even just seeing — an all-terrain predator whose camouflage-pattern skin and canny habits make it virtually invisible in the wild. Hunting pythons proved far more difficult than neophyte hunters and hype-happy out-of-town TV crews expected.