Published: Dec 12, 2012 6:06 PM EST
Updated: Dec 12, 2012 6:24 PM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Thousands of invasive burmese pythons are slithering in Southwest Florida, so the Nature Conservancy is looking for your help to control the population.

The conservancy held two courses Thursday to teach people who are willing to catch and remove the snakes how to safely wrangle the reptiles.

It's believed the snakes were originally pets that found their way into Everglades National Park, and there are now believed to be tens of thousands of them in the park.

"They're large constrictors.  They're another predator in the Everglades and they don't belong.  And because they don't belong we need to have them removed as quickly as possible," instructor Jeff Fobb said.

The Python Patrol Program "responder training" is for those is a multi-partnered project organized by The Nature Conservancy and funded by the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife, which began in the Florida Keys and is moving onto the mainland of Florida.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is also working to control the python population with the 2013 Python Challenge, a month long contest beginning January 12th.

The FWC is offering a grand prize of $1,500 to the person who kills the most pythons, and $1,000 to the person who brings in the longest one.

To report a python sighting, you're asked to call 1-888-IVE-GOT-1