A massive 215-pound Burmese python was recently found in the Everglades.
The female snake was also found with a record number of eggs inside of it, 122. At 18 feet long, it is the largest Burmese python to be found in Florida, and it was captured in Collier County.
“This could be one of the founding snakes from back then that was intentionally released, escaped pet, who knows,” said Ian Bartoszek, python project manager with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “You’re looking at the scale of the problem.”
For the last 10 years, the Conservancy’s team has tracked pythons, studying movement, breeding behavior and habitat use. A radio transmitter implanted in a male scout snake led them to the monstrously large specimen in a remote area of Picayune Strand State Park.
“What do you think it took to make a 215-pound snake out there? That’s a lot of native wildlife, all of her friends, all of her boyfriends out there doing the same,” Bartoszek said. “We’re on to them.”
Their growth depends on what they eat.
For this particular snake, their last meal was an adult white-tailed deer, the primary food source of the endangered Florida panther.
“This is what we’re dealing with here,” Bartoszek said. “This is why we are learning more about this invasive animal, because of the impact that they’re having.”
The impact is on the Everglades ecosystem.
The pythons are killing off other animals and increasing their own population.
A recent study showed fox, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, deer and bobcat populations are significantly down due to pythons.
There is no easy way to get rid of them but researchers at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida will continue to study the invasive species.