A team from the Conservancy of Southwest Florida made a shocking discovery deep in the Florida Everglades, when they came upon a sight they will likely never forget. The biggest Burmese python the team of three had ever laid their eyes on was just mere feet from them.

A team of wildlife biologists with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida captured an eighteen-foot-long (5.5m), 215-pound (98kg) female Burmese python loaded with 122 developing eggs. The monstrous size reptile is the biggest ever caught in the state.

Ian Bartoszek, python project manager with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida said in a statement:

“This could be one of the founding snakes from back then that was intentionally released, escaped pet, who knows. 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.

Python

Photo courtesy of Conservancy of Southwest Florida

Bartoszek and the team found Dion with the largest female snake they had ever seen and attempted to restrain the massive snake. However, the female python didn’t go down without a fight.

The biologist remembered the initial struggle of wrestling the massive snake.

He detailed that she “threw her weight around” and even coiled the end of her tail into a “fist” and took a swipe at Findley.

“She put up a pretty good fight,” Easterling said, adding that the snake balled up her tail and took a swing at the team. Findley, the intern, dogged a swipe from the python, but Easterling wasn’t as lucky and got slapped in the face with her tail.

Twenty minutes later, the team captured the python.

The Daily Wire dropped some details of this record-breaking discovery:

Researchers also said another record-breaking discovery was made when they found the snake had carried 122 developing eggs within her abdomen during the necropsy. The finding set a new limit for the highest number of eggs a female python can potentially produce during a breeding cycle.

During the necropsy, researchers determined the python had an adult white-tailed deer hoof cores found in her digestive system, which is also a primary food source for the endangered Florida panther.

Although researchers discovered the python in December, the Conservancy made the announcement last week after National Geographic published an exclusive article. The article highlights how Burmese pythons have caused rapid reproduction and depletion of surrounding native wildlife, making them invasive species.

In addition to the Conservancy researchers finding dozens of white-tailed deer inside Burmese pythons during necropsies, colleagues at the University of Florida have also seen 24 species of mammals, 47 species of birds, and two reptile species from the stomach of pythons.

“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.”

Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) said in a press conference earlier this month, “It’s just unbelievable what they will ravage when they’re there.”

“These snakes are destroying the natural food chain, and you can’t have a healthy environment without a healthy food chain,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said the state of Florida had spent more than $3 million on removing pythons using tools and technology to detect such large snakes.

“The Everglades, of course, is a diverse ecosystem, and we are protecting this ecosystem in a variety of different ways,” DeSantis said.

The last time Bartoszek and his team made a record-breaking discovery was in 2016, when they came upon a 185-pound Burmese python. Two years earlier, they found the first 100-pound python.

“We don’t really consider pythons big until they top 100 pounds, so now I need a new description for a 200-pound python,” Bartoszek said. “It’s just next level for us.”

The Conservancy established a python program in 2013. Since its founding, they have removed over 1,000 pythons weighing more than 26,000 pounds of adult pythons from approximately 100 square miles in southwestern Florida.

Watch video report here: Fox4/Youtube

Sources: DailyWire, National Geographic

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