MIAMI - Federal wildlife officials alarmed by the spread of Burmese pythons across Florida's Everglades are trying to figure out if the large, heavy snakes can be lured into specially designed traps.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has received a patent for a trap to catch the invasive species from southeast Asia. Pythons don't have many predators in Florida, and researchers believe they're decimating populations of native mammals in swampland.
The trap resembles a long, thin cage of steel mesh with a net at one end. The National Wildlife Research Center's Gainesville field station is preparing to test the traps by baiting them with the scent of mammals such as rats.
Pythons can grow up to 20 feet long. Florida's population of Burmese pythons likely developed from pets released into the wild.