Team of SWFL biologists discover massive python breeding ground

Published: April 16, 2018 10:37 PM EDT

Wildlife biologist Ian Bartoszek says Southwest Florida has a python problem.

“In the last five breeding seasons, we removed 10,000 pounds of python from a less than 40 square mile area. That’s five tons of snake,” Bartoszek said.

His solution is a male white python with a surgically inserted tracking device that led Bartoszek and his team to a group of breeding snakes.

“Eight pythons that added up to 280 pounds of snake all together,” he said.

Bartoszek says that by tracking the snake, named Argo, they captured a female getting ready to lay over 40 eggs.

Three days later and less than a half mile away, Argo led them to the highest recorded breeding aggregation discovery in Collier County. They found six male pythons and one massive egg-laying female.

Bartoszek says their technique is to turn the snakes against each other. And once the pythons are captured, his team can begin to look closer.

“One python had the remains of a possum and a bobcat, many others are deer and fawn. They are definitely eating all the way up the food chain and that’s very worrisome, because if they are impacting deer, that’s panther food,” Bartoszek said.

Experts say that if you see a python or other large snake, don’t go near it. But do take a photo if you can. And remember the location so you can report it to wildlife authorities.