A record-breaking giant Burmese python, an invasive species invading Florida, was captured in the Everglades.
The big female python weighed in at 164.5 pounds, was 17 feet and 7 inches long, about a foot wide in some places, and was cultivating 87 eggs inside her oviducts.
“This thing is monstrous, it’s about a foot wide,” Florida Museum herpetology collection manager Kenneth Krysko said in a statement from the University of Florida. “It means these snakes are surviving a long time in the wild, there’s nothing stopping them and the native wildlife are in trouble.”
Burmese pythons have been troubling Florida for years. Researchers aren’t completely sure how they got to Florida in such great numbers, but some suggest they were pets that escaped or were released into the wild by their owners. Since 1979, they’ve been growing and multiplying, eating their way through the alligators, birds, bobcats and deer that live in the National Park.
“A 17.5-foot snake could eat anything it wants,” Krysko said. “By learning what this animal has been eating and its reproductive status, it will hopefully give us insight into how to potentially manage other wild Burmese pythons in the future. It also highlights the actual problem, which is invasive species.”
There could be thousands to hundreds of thousands of these snakes out there.
“They were here 25 years ago, but in very low numbers and it was difficult to find one because of their cryptic behaviour,” Krysko said. “Now, you can go out to the Everglades nearly any day of the week and find a Burmese python. We’ve found 14 in a single day.”
More photos of the giant snake:
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