Largest Burmese Python Caught in Southwest Florida
Even giant snakes cannot resist the Sunshine State.
A record-breaking 16-foot python was recently captured in South Florida, setting a new record for the state for the largest male ever caught.
The 140-pound Burmese python was the biggest of the 2,000-pound snake haul bagged in Collier County since the beginning of the year. This was part of a research done by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida on their behaviors and to also help catch other snakes in the area.
Biologist Ian Bartoszek said the result was "jaw-dropping," as reported by the Miami Herald.
Over the past three years, his team has been active in outfitting the "snitch snakes" with radio trackers. Mainly, these are used to track their burrows and lead the team to their nests.
On February, researchers were led to pregnant female reptiles with more than 24 eggs with them, as per Fox News.
Newsweek reported that there has been a population boom for Burmese pythons in the last three decades. These reptiles have become one of the top predators in the state, having killed or eaten highly endangered species, such as the Key Largo wood rats, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.
In 2012, the service banned the interstate trade and importation of Burmese pythons.
In late February, the 2016 Burmese python hunt ended with 106 caught reptiles. During the hunt, the longest reptile recorded stretched 13 feet and 8.7 inches long.
Burmese pythons were once allowed as exotic pets, as per a CNN report. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, they have been reported at the south end of Everglades National Park since the 1980s. It is unsure how they entered the ecosystem, but it is possible that Burmese pythons escaped from a breeding facility destroyed during Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Wild populations of the pythons are listed by CITES, or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, as "threatened" species. They are usually slaughtered for leather and folk medicine use.