(ORDO NEWS) — A team of biologists recently pulled out the largest and heaviest Burmese python ever caught in Florida, according to US officials.
The female python weighed 98 kg, measured five meters in length and had 122 developing eggs, according to a press release from the Southwest Florida Conservation Service.
The team used radio transmitters attached to male snakes to study python movements, breeding behavior and habitat use, said Jan Bartoszek, a wildlife biologist and project manager for environmental sciences at the Conservation Program.
“How do you find a needle in a haystack? You could use a magnet, and similarly our scout snakes will attract the largest females,” said Bartoszek.
The team used a scout snake named Dionysus in the Western Everglades region.
“We knew he was there for a reason, and the team found him with the largest female we’ve seen to date.”
The autopsy also found the remains of hooves in the snake’s digestive system. This means that her last meal was an adult white-tailed deer.
National Geographic documented the discovery, highlighting the ongoing impact of invasive pythons, which are known for rapidly breeding and depleting surrounding wildlife.
Bartoszek said the removal of female pythons plays a critical role in disrupting the breeding cycle.
“This is the wildlife problem of our time for south Florida,” he said.
Since the python conservation program began in 2013, they have wiped out more than 1,000 pythons from about 25,900 hectares in southwest Florida.
Dozens of white-tailed deer have been found inside Burmese pythons at this site. Data scientists at the University of Florida have documented 24 mammal species, 47 bird species, and two reptile species in pythons’ stomachs.
Until the recent discovery, the largest female python captured by the conservation program weighed 84kg and was the heaviest python ever caught in Florida, officials said.
The state python removal program runs for two weeks in August. Participants compete for prizes, including $3,627 for python capture.
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