Scientists claim to have caught a monstrous Burmese python at the northern end of Everglades National Park, the largest snake ever recorded in Florida.
According to the University of Florida, the female giant weighing at 164½ pounds and measuring 17 feet, 7 inches long is nearly a foot longer than the previous state record of 16 feet, 8 inches.
Kenneth Krysko manager for the Florida Museum’s herpetology college stated, “This thing is monstrous, it's about a foot wide. It means these snakes are surviving a long time in the wild, there's nothing stopping them and the native wildlife are in trouble.”
“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.”-- Kenneth Krysko
Python yields 87 eggs
The python was first captured on March 6 and then returned to wilderness after being tagged with two radio transmitters to track its movements.
“We suspected that she might be a breeding female, so we wanted to get her activity pattern,” said Kristen Hart, a research ecologist with the survey.
The snake was recaptured April 19 and euthanized shortly using isoflurane gas. The predator is now being studied at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
An examination revealed an alarming 87 eggs and feathers in its stomach. The feathers will now be identified by the museum’s ornithologists.
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.”
Burmese pythons prowling the Everglades
A native to Southeast Asia, the Burmese pythons, one of the largest snake species on earth are now known to be breeding in the Everglades and spreading throughout south Florida.
Researchers believe that their population runs into tens of thousands in the Everglades. The snakes found in the park are due to intentional release by pet owners.
“The people who have pets and can’t manage them may think that they’re doing a good thing for their pets by putting them out into the wild, but it’s disastrous for the environment,” Linda Friar, a spokeswoman for the park, said Monday.
This is having a devastating impact on the ecosystem. Burmese pythons have been found to prey on variety of mammals and birds in the park even deer and the occasional alligator!
The continued explosion of Burmese pythons can threaten many of the endangered plants and animals in the Everglades.
Over the last decade, The National Park Service is working on potential control methods for managing the existing population of Burmese pythons.