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Lost python hunters rescued in Everglades

MIAMI, Feb. 8 (UPI) —

Two men from Tennessee who came to South Florida to hunt pythons had to be plucked out of the Everglades by a helicopter Thursday.

Rescue workers said the pair, who had apparently been living in their car, became lost and dehydrated, WTVJ-TV in Miami reported. They were in Broward County, about 15 miles west of Route 27, which cuts through the northern Everglades to the Miami area.

Mike Jachles, a spokesman for Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, said the men, 22 and 25, said they felt lightheaded. After a 2-mile helicopter ride to the road where a rescue unit was waiting, they were treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration and refused to go to a hospital.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has been holding its first Python Challenge in an effort to bring down the number of Burmese pythons infesting the Everglades. The snakes, believed to be released pets or escapees from animal dealers, can grow to be more than 20 feet long and deadly to animals native to the Everglades.

The commission reported as of Tuesday 50 pythons had been "harvested" — or killed — and turned in to the University of Florida. The challenge ends Saturday.

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