Largest Burmese python captured in Florida measures 18ft long and weighs 97kg OCN NEWS

A team of wildlife biologists in the United States has discovered and successfully captured the largest Burmese python ever found in the state of Florida. The female snake, measuring almost 18 feet long, weighed 215 pounds or so. 97.5 kg and was carrying 112 eggs. The python was captured by biologists from the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in the Everglades wetland last December. However, honing in on the larger reptile has not been easy for researchers.

As part of their research program, biologists implant radio transmitters into their male “scout” snakes and monitor their breeding behavior, movements and habitat use. These scout snakes help researchers spot breeding aggregations and huge breeding female snakes.

“How do you find the needle in the haystack? You can use a magnet, and similarly our male scout snakes are attracted to larger females around,” said Ian Bartoszek, wildlife biologist and environmental science project manager for conservation.

Once tracked, biologists then proceed to remove the breeding female along with the eggs that develop within her in the wild. For their biggest catch, the biologists followed their male scout named Dionysus or Dion who led them to an area in the western Everglades. The snake frequented the area, leading biologists to suspect that a female python might be there.

Their suspicions turned out to be true as the scout not only led to a female snake, but also the largest ever found in Florida. The huge python was then taken for an autopsy where researchers found it had 122 developing eggs inside the snake’s abdomen.

Additionally, during an assessment of the snake’s digestive contents, biologists found hoof cores inside her. This indicates that the reptile devoured an adult white-tailed deer during its last meal.

The Burmese python is considered an invasive species in Florida, which means that it is not native to this environment and affects other species in the ecosystem. “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,” Bartoszek pointed out.

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