Officials in Florida announced on Thursday that they had discovered the largest Burmese Python found anywhere.
According to Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the gargantuan female snake, which was considered an invasive species, measured almost 18 feet in length and weighed 215 lbs.
Following a match of 20 minutes with biologists in December, the snake was taken to the Everglades. Researchers then kept it in a freezer until April.
During a necropsy, the snake was found to have 122 eggs developing in its abdomen — breaking another record for the most eggs female python can produce in a breeding cycle, according to the conservancy.
“Hoof cores” found inside the snake’s stomach indicated that a white tailed deer was the beast’s last meal before it was caught. The organization stated that the deer was the main food source for the Florida panther.
National Geographic featured the historic capture, which is part of the conservancy’s python removal program that began in 2013.
“The removal of female pythons plays a critical role in disrupting the breeding cycle of these apex predators that are wreaking havoc on the Everglades ecosystem and taking food sources from other native species,”Ian Bartoszek (Conservancy wildlife biologist/environmental science project manager), said: “This is the wildlife issue of our time for southern Florida.”
To date, the organization has removed over 1,000 pythons — over 26,000 pounds of snake — in a 100-square-mile area in southwestern Florida.
“These efforts are significant in fulfilling our mission of protecting Southwest Florida’s unique natural environment and quality of life by reducing the overall impact on our native wildlife populations,” Bartoszek added.
Wildlife biologists caught the python using a special research program that used radio transmitters in males to capture it. “scout”Biologists will be able to find breeding ground for snakes thanks to the help of these reptiles “large, reproductive females”To stop wild eggs hatching, they can be removed.
“How do you find the needle in the haystack? You could use a magnet, and in a similar way our male scout snakes are attracted to the biggest females around,” Bartoszek said.
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