Authorities in Florida have captured and killed a 16-foot-long Burmese python after it swallowed an entire adult deer.
The Sun-Sentinel reported the adult 76-pound female deer was found – amazingly fully intact – inside the snake after the reptile was captured and killed Thursday on a tree island in western Miami-Dade County.
Although pythons have been discovered with deer remains before, this is the first time such a snake was caught immediately after it consumed a deer, allowing biologists to see the size prey a python is truly capable of eating.
“This is clearly an extreme event,” explained Skip Snow, a biologist and python specialist at Everglades National Park who conducted the necropsy. “It shows you they can eat huge things.”
According to Snow’s measurements, the 16-foot-python had a girth of 44 inches with the deer in its stomach.
Burmese pythons have been breeding in the Everglades over the past several years after pet owners released pythons that had grown too large or escaped from enclosures during Hurricane Andrew, the Sun Sentinel said.
Officials say the killing of the giant python was necessary to help stop the spread of the species further north.
Image and Source: Sun-Sentinel