Science

Florida's biggest-ever python has been found

By FactsWow Team

Posted on: 22 Jun, 2022

According to National Geographic,

According to National Geographic, researchers used another python as bait to coax the largest Burmese python ever spotted in Florida out of its hiding place in the Everglades (opens in new tab).

Female, about 18 feet (5.4 meters) long and weighing 215 pounds (97 kilograms), the enormous snake was 13.6 kilograms (13.6 pounds) larger than the next-largest python ever discovered in the state.

 According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the majority of Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus) found in Florida are between 6 and 10 feet (1.8 and 3 m) long, even though in their native habitats in Southeast Asia, the snakes regularly reach 18 feet long (5.4 m). The largest can reach lengths of 20 feet (6 m) or more (opens in new tab).

The invasive pythons have successfully reproduced in Florida's southern areas since they were first introduced in the 1970s. There, they prey on numerous local birds and mammals as well as the occasional alligator or domestic dog.

Burmese pythons are much harder to see in the extensive marshes, wooded areas, and subtropical forests of the Everglades and surrounding areas while being larger than other native snake species in Florida. 

According to National Geographic, python trackers at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, a Naples-based organization, implant GPS trackers inside male pythons and then send these 'scout snakes' slithering into the wild to reduce these invasive populations by luring reproductively active females out of hiding.

According to Sarah Funck, a researcher with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 'Large reproductive female pythons are critical to remove from these habitats' since they are disproportionately capable of bearing several young.

When the researchers went to check on their scout snake, they discovered him coiling up next to a gigantic female. After a fierce struggle, the researchers were able to get the enormous female into a bag, which they then put in a tub and brought to their research center. 

Dion, in the meantime, made it through the confrontation and kept scouting for the Conservancy. The group then realized Dion had set up shop in a specific area of the western Everglades habitat, close to Naples.

The crew carried out a necropsy on the giant python after killing the female snake. They discovered pieces of fur, clusters of disintegrated bone, and a piece of a hoof in the snake's digestive tract, indicating that the animal had recently consumed an adult white-tailed deer.

According to National Geographic, Burmese pythons are thought to prey on 24 mammal species, 47 bird species, and two reptile species in the state of Florida based on comparable necropsies performed in the past.

'These pythons have the power to transform the ecosystem fundamentally, and I would say they probably already have,' Kristen Hart, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey Wetland and Aquatic Research Center collaborator with the conservancy team, told National Geographic.

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