Burmese python weighing 215lbs and measuring nearly 18ft long found in Florida
Deep in the swamps of Florida’s Picayune Strand State Forest lived a Burmese python so large it took three men to carry it out of the Everglades.
Researchers at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida captured this huge female python that was found to weigh 215 pounds and measure 17.7 feet in length — and considered it the largest python ever recorded in Florida — or anywhere outside its native range.
Douglas Main, senior writer and editor at National Geographic, told DailyMail.com in an interview, “It’s unbelievable for its size. It is almost heavier than most people.
‘It’s also cool because it shows the success of this technique with reconnaissance snakes, male pythons with GPS transmitters. The males are released and the snakes lead them to large reproductive females.’
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Deep in the swamps of Florida’s Picayune Strand State Forest lived a Burmese python so large it took three men to carry it out of the Everglades
The giant snake was captured in December, euthanized and placed in a freezer on ice until April. National Geographic’s Rebecca Dzombak traveled to a lab in Naples to see the researchers perform a necropsy.
It took about 48 hours for the carcass to thaw, and Dzombak said in her post that “the smell doesn’t improve with time.”
The researchers started by cutting along the center of the python’s abdomen, then peeling open the ribs to access the underlying fat layer, which allowed them to discover a few other interesting things.
Hidden within the body were 122 proto eggs — the most ever found in a python.
The giant snake was captured in December, euthanized and placed on ice in a freezer until National Geographic’s Rebecca Dzombak traveled to a lab in Naples in April to watch the researchers perform a necropsy. Hidden in the body were 122 proto eggs (pictured) – the most ever found in a python
Researchers also took several measurements of the snake, noting that its head was nearly 6 inches (15 centimeters) from the tip of its snout to the back of its skull.
However, the eggs were not yet fertilized.
The python had hoof cores and bits of fur in its digestive tract, which researchers say indicates that its last meal was an adult white-tailed deer.
“White-tailed deer are the main prey for endangered Florida panthers,” Main said.
“So this is worrying.”
Main told DailyMail.com that he is working on a story about the endangered panthers, noting that there are about 200 in all of Florida.
Researchers also took several measurements of the snake, noting that its head was nearly 6 inches (15 centimeters) from the tip of its snout to the back of its skull. The widest part of her body was 10 inches.
The Boy Scout pythons are the key to tracking females in the wild. These males usually find their way into reproductive females during the breeding season and sometimes even groups of females and males.
And a male explorer named Dion led researchers to the prized female python.
Since 2013, the Conservancy team has removed more than 1,000 pythons with a total weight of 25,000 pounds using this technique.
Since 2000, Florida Fish & Wildlife has killed or removed more than 15,000 pythons, and as of 2017, more than 1,000 were removed each year. Pictured is another Burmese python that was 17 feet long
Florida Fish & Wildlife has killed or removed more than 15,000 pythons since 2000, and more than 1,000 every year as of 2017. But scientists have no idea how many thousands are left,” Main said.
Pythons are native to Southeast Asia but have wreaked havoc in Florida since the 1970s.
The snakes came to Florida as pets, but owners threw them into the wild, where they began to multiply and grow to enormous lengths.
The death of the female python was not in vain, as it will help researchers learn more about these creatures that have eluded scientists since they arrived in the US.
“Because they’re so hard to find, we don’t know much about their biology, which is ironic because they’re huge snakes running around,” Main said.
He continued to explain that pythons feed on 73 different species native to Florida.
“24 mammals, 47 birds, and two species of lizards,” Main said.
“They’ve all been found in snakes all over Florida and they’re taking a huge toll.”
‘Knowing what they eat is very important. If you see how many eggs there are, you can see how many offspring they could have and how that varies between different individuals and it models potential output and how fast the population could grow.’
Florida authorities are uncertain about the number of pythons living in the state, but the estimated estimate is at least 30,000 to 300,000.
“Pythons are everywhere, in neighborhoods and suburbs,” says Main.
“Researchers said people would be shocked if they knew how widespread they are.”