A Conservancy of Southwest Florida team has made an unforgettable discovery deep in the Florida Everglades, when they stumbled upon the biggest Burmese python they have likely ever laid their eyes on just mere feet from them.
The team of wildlife biologists captured the eighteen-foot-long (5.5m), 215-pound (98kg) female Burmese python carrying 122 developing eggs. The monstrous sized reptile is the biggest ever caught in Florida.
Python project manager with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Ian Bartoszek stated:
“This could be one of the founding snakes from back then that was intentionally released, escaped pet, who knows. You’re looking at the scale of the problem.”
The team has been tracking pythons for the past 10 years, studying their movement, breeding behavior, and habitat use. And they discovered this monstrously large snake from a radio transmitter implanted in the male scout snake. The specimen was found in a remote area of Picayune Strand State Park.
“What do you think it took to make a 215-pound snake out there? That’s a lot of native wildlife, all of her friends, all of her boyfriends out there doing the same,” Bartoszek said. “We’re on to them.”
Their growth depends on what they eat.
Photo courtesy of Conservancy of Southwest Florida
The team found the largest female snake they had ever seen and tried to restrain it, however the python was not about to go down without a fight.
The biologist detailed his memories of wrestling the massive snake, revealing that she “threw her weight around” and even coiled the end of her tail into a “fist” and took a swipe at Findley.
“She put up a pretty good fight,” Easterling said. Findley, the intern, dogged a swipe from the python, but Easterling wasn’t as lucky and got slapped in the face with her tail.
After twenty long minutes, the team was successful in capturing the python.
The Daily Wire detailed this record-breaking discovery:
Researchers also said another record-breaking discovery was made when they found the snake had carried 122 developing eggs within her abdomen during the necropsy. The finding set a new limit for the highest number of eggs a female python can potentially produce during a breeding cycle.
During the necropsy, researchers determined the python had an adult white-tailed deer hoof cores found in her digestive system, which is also a primary food source for the endangered Florida panther.
Although researchers discovered the python in December, the Conservancy made the announcement last week after National Geographic published an exclusive article. The article highlights how Burmese pythons have caused rapid reproduction and depletion of surrounding native wildlife, making them invasive species.
In addition to the Conservancy researchers finding dozens of white-tailed deer inside Burmese pythons during necropsies, colleagues at the University of Florida have also seen 24 species of mammals, 47 species of birds, and two reptile species from the stomach of pythons.
“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,” Bartoszek said. “This is the wildlife issue of our time for southern Florida.”
Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) said in a press conference earlier this month, “It’s just unbelievable what they will ravage when they’re there.”
“These snakes are destroying the natural food chain, and you can’t have a healthy environment without a healthy food chain,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis said the state of Florida had spent more than $3 million on removing pythons using tools and technology to detect such large snakes.
“The Everglades, of course, is a diverse ecosystem, and we are protecting this ecosystem in a variety of different ways,” DeSantis said.
The last time Bartoszek and his team made a record-breaking discovery was in 2016, when they came upon a 185-pound Burmese python. Two years earlier, they found the first 100-pound python.
“We don’t really consider pythons big until they top 100 pounds, so now I need a new description for a 200-pound python,” Bartoszek said. “It’s just next level for us.”
The Conservancy established a python program in 2013. Since its founding, they have removed over 1,000 pythons weighing more than 26,000 pounds of adult pythons from approximately 100 square miles in southwestern Florida.
Watch video report here: Fox4/Youtube