EAST NAPLES, Fla. It was a sight that would have horrified anyone with a fear of snakes.
Researchers found 95 eggs as they cut into a 17-foot, 152-pound female Burmese python Thursday at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
“She’s a monster,” wildlife biologist Ian Bartoszek said.
Bartoszek was part of a team performing a necropsy on the snake as part of a Conservancy project designed to learn more about the invasive species.
The more researchers learn about where they go and how they communicate, the easier it will be to control their population, Bartoszek said.
Exotic pet owners introduced the pythons to the state, and they were especially popular in the 1990s.
“The people would either just let the pythons go into the wild, or they’d escape,” Bartoszek said.
Since then, their population has grown rapidly. Some are even larger than the 17-footer cut apart Thursday at the Conservancy, and hatchlings can grow to 8 feet in a year’s time.
Researchers use radio tracking and tagging to come up with 70 percent of the snakes they catch. All are humanely euthanized, Bartoszek said.