The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported the update on Tuesday for the "Python Challenge." The competition began Jan. 12 and is slated to end Sunday with an awards ceremony taking place at Zoo Miami on Feb. 16.
Prizes of $1,500 and $1,000 will be awarded for most snakes captured and longest snake in two classes: trained hunters permitted by the state and the general public.
The invasive snakes killed in the Everglades are processed and logged by University of Florida researchers who examine each one hoping to learn more about the elusive species.
Burmese pythons, native to southern Asia, became established in the Everglades through the exotic pet trade just over a decade ago. They have since spread like wildfire in favorable environmental conditions and with no natural predator to keep the overpopulating snake in check.
No one knows for sure how many pythons live in South Florida now but some experts estimate the total number of pythons in the region to be anywhere from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand.
Wildlife officials say eradicating pythons from the Everglades was never the goal of the challenge. Instead, they hoped to raise awareness about the snake's threat to native wildlife and the fragile Everglades ecosystem.
The Everglades, currently two and a half square miles of animal reserve, host about 36 species that are protected by the federal government, who are put in danger of extinction due to the ever-growing problem. Pythons have been known to devour almost any wildlife animal in their reach including deer and alligators.
The snake faces both state and federal bans.