12/29/2012 08:59 am ET Updated Dec 30, 2012

17-Foot Python Shot And Killed After Entering Everglades Picnic Area (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

For Florida wildlife officials, the Python Challenge 2013 can't start soon enough.

In the latest evidence that the invasive species is taking over local environs, a 17-foot python slithered into a family picnic area in the Everglades, startling a family from Arkansas on Wednesday.

Watch the video above.

Park rangers arrived at the scene, and shot and killed the giant Burmese python.

Next month, the FWC is hosting a contest to see which individual and which permit-holder can bag the most snakes as well as the longest.

The Arkansas tourists could have gone home with the challenge prize of $1,500; the picnic python was almost the longest one ever caught. The record-breaker is currently held by one that measured at 17 feet 7 inches.