Snake hunters reported the capture of a 17-foot long Burmese python in the marshy grasslands of the Florida Everglades on Sunday, April 7.
In a post on Facebook, the team said that the giant was found in the Big Cypress National Preserve. It was the largest snake ever found in the Florida Everglades.
Efforts To Drive Out Burmese Pythons In Florida Everglades
The Florida Everglades is teeming with snakes, but the slithering creatures are not native to the region. In the 80s, Burmese pythons were released in the wild by pet owners when the creatures became too big to handle. Then, in the 90s, Hurricane Andrew devastated a breeding facility, setting the creatures free.
Today, it is estimated that about 100,000 pythons are slithering in the 729,000-acre park, threatening the populations of rabbits and foxes thriving in the area. Studies have shown that 88 percent of raccoon, opossum, and bobcat populations have been decimated in the area. The pythons are also competing with native alligators for food.
Environmentalists are trying to drive out the snakes from the area, but the capture of the Burmese python this weekend proves that eradicating the non-native species is a major challenge. According to the snake hunters, the Burmese python is a female that is developing 73 eggs in its belly.
"All of the python work at Big Cypress is focused on controlling this invasive species, which poses significant threats to native wildlife," the snake hunters wrote on Facebook.
Tracking Male Pythons
The team explained that they were able to capture the very pregnant female python by tracking the movements of its boyfriend. Instead of killing male pythons, snake hunters attach radio transmitters to the creatures, or the so-called Judas snakes, that lead them to the location of breeding females.
The team said they have ensnared several other females using the technique. Moreover, the radio transmitters collect data that can be used for scientific studies and develop new methods to remove the pythons from the area.
Sunday's capture beats the record of Jason Leon who captured a python in the Big Cypress National Preserve that measured 17 feet 1 inch and weighed 132 pounds in December 2017.
The longest python recorded was 25-feet long and weighed 350 pounds.