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Biologists capture largest python found in Florida at 18ft

A team of Florida wildlife biologists has captured the largest Burmese python ever found in the state, officials said Thursday.

The gargantuan female snake, considered an invasive species in Florida, was nearly 18 feet long and weighed 215 pounds, according to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

The snake was captured last December in the Everglades after a 20-minute wrestling match with biologists, but researchers left the python in a freezer until April.

During an autopsy, the snake was found to have 122 developing eggs in its abdomen, breaking another record for the most eggs a female python can produce in one reproductive cycle, according to the conversation.

A group of Florida wildlife biologists have captured the largest Burmese python in the state.
The News-Press-USA TODAY Network
Biologists capture largest python found in Florida at 18ft
The last meal the python ate was a white-tailed deer.
The News-Press-USA TODAY Network

“Hoof pits” found inside the snake’s stomach indicated that a white-tailed deer was the beast’s last meal before it was captured. Deer are a primary food source for the endangered Florida panther, the organization said.

National Geographic showcased the historic capture, part of the conservation python removal program that began in 2013.

“The removal of female pythons plays a critical role in disrupting the reproductive cycle of these apex predators that wreak havoc on the Everglades ecosystem and take food sources from other native species,” said Ian Bartoszek. , wildlife biologist and environmental science project manager for the Protection. “It’s the wildlife problem of our time for South Florida.”

Biologists capture largest python found in Florida at 18ft
The python weighed over 215 pounds.
Southwest Florida Conservatory

To date, the organization has removed more than 1,000 pythons – more than 26,000 pounds of snake – from a 100 square mile area in southwest Florida.

“These efforts are important in fulfilling our mission to protect Southwest Florida’s unique natural environment and quality of life by reducing the overall impact on our native wildlife populations,” Bartoszek added.

Wildlife biologists have captured the python through a unique research program that uses radio transmitters implanted in male ‘scout’ snakes to lead biologists to breeding grounds where ‘large breeding females’ can be removed to prevent eggs to hatch in the wild.

“How do you find the needle in the haystack? You can use a magnet, and similarly our male scout snakes are attracted to the biggest females in the world,” Bartoszek said.