SWFL Burmese python ingests deer that weighed more than itself

A Burmese python completely devoured a white-tail deer fawn that weighed more than itself at the Collier-Seminole State Park.

Wildlife biologists with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida held a predation event Thursday to discuss research findings and graphic photographs of the surprising discovery.

“This was traumatic for everybody,” wildlife biologist Ian Bartoszek said.

While this invasive python is known to kill and ingest large prey, this kill was particularly unique as the predator-to-prey ratio is the largest on record, officials said. The Burmese python was 31 pounds while the deer fawn was 35 pounds.

“Its hard to deny when you see that photo what this animal is capable of,” Bartoszek said. “That animal will just take its time and it will just walk that prey down the throat.”

Biologists discovered Burmese pythons in 2015, but said they’re no strangers to Southwest Florida. Burmese pythons were brought over in the late 70’s for pet trade and never left.

Now, they’re invasive and a threat to the environment and ecosystem, officials said.

“They’re capable of impacting white-tail deer populations, which are very important to the endangered Florida panthers,”¬†Bartoszek said.

Conservancy leaders are working to locally control the population before it grows even bigger. Now, the strategy is to tag male pythons then use radio technology to track them down.

Currently there are 20 male pythons tagged.

“These animals are leading us to some very large egg laid in females that we then remove and humanely euthanize,”¬†Bartoszek said.

Anyone who encounters a Burmese python is asked to contact the conservancy center immediately.

Reporter:Hannah Vogel
Writer:Katherine Viloria