Science & Tech

Biologists capture the heaviest python in Florida

Biologists capture the heaviest python in Florida
Florida python sets new state record at almost 18 feet, 215 pounds

Biologists in Florida have captured the heaviest Burmese python ever as part of their python elimination program.

The female python weighing in at 215 pounds (98 kg) and 18 ft (5m) long was found in the Everglades according to a press release from the Conservancy of South Florida.

To capture the massive python biologists implanted a male python with radio transmitters and tracked its location. These are called "scouts" which are helpful in helping scientists understand python movements, breeding behaviors, habitat, and more.

“How do you find the needle in the haystack? You could use a magnet, and in a similar way our male scout snakes are attracted to the biggest females around,” Ian Bartoszek, wildlife biologist and environmental science project manager for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida said in the press release.

Bartoszek said the "scout" male python led them to a western part of the Everglades where the snake frequented. While there, they found the male with the large female.

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Size isn't the only thing the female Burmese python broke records with. During a necropsy, the biologists found 122 eggs developing in the snake's abdomen which is the largest number of eggs produced in a python's breeding cycle.

National Geographic also documented the massive python and highlighted how these creatures are invasive to South Florida.

“The removal of female pythons plays a critical role in disrupting the breeding cycle of these apex predators that are wreaking havoc on the Everglades ecosystem and taking food sources from other native species,” Bartoszek said. “This is the wildlife issue of our time for southern Florida.”

The python elimination program began in 2013 and so far has removed over 1,000 pythons from 100 miles of South Florida.

Last year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made a program that awarded people for catching the longest python annual in an effort to encourage the removal of the invasive species.

The program originally took place every three years but now runs annually. This year it will take place in August.

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