15-Foot Burmese Python Found Near Florida Restaurant in Island of Capri

Lurking behind a restaurant, a 15-plus-foot Python was found at the doorway of Beau Middlebrook's Sun Realty office located behind Pelican Bend restaurant on the Isles of Capri.

David Beatty captured the python and maintained the snake until the FWC trapper could arrive.

An Isle of Capri firefighter also helped with the capture.

The python was checked to be sure it was not microchipped before removing it.

Burmese pythons are not indigenous to Florida, but have flourished in the Everglades, gradually making their way north, to more populated areas. They have been indicated in multiple human deaths and have even been implicated in the endangerment of the American Alligator, along with other U.S. indigenous reptiles, fish, mammals and birds.

The first Burmese python found in the wilds of the Everglades was in 1979. Once household pets, they had either escaped or were released, and today, after years of breeding, the mainland around Everglades National Park contains tens of thousands of the snakes… which can feast on rare and endangered species.

While pythons aren't commonly known to attack people, they are indiscriminate eaters. They have been known to eat a wide range of wildlife from tiny songbirds to adult deer and alligators up to 6-feet long.

The first Keys python was discovered alive in 2007 when researchers checking on the status of a male Key Largo woodrat wearing a radio transmitter noticed it strangely had moved more than a mile from its original documented habitat. The signal led the two researchers — a University of St. Andrews graduate student and a volunteer assistant studying federally endangered Key Largo woodrats — to a 7-1/2-foot Burmese python sunning itself. The contents of the captured snake's stomach included not only the collared woodrat but another one as well.

To help solve the issue, The Nature Conservancy in Florida launched Python Patrol in 2008. One of the over 400 responders trained by the Conservancy can deal directly with the situation by safely and humanely capturing and removing pythons or other exotic constrictors they encounter.

Citizens can learn how to identify pythons and other non-native animals at an in-person detector training or online. Anyone can call in snake sightings (1-888-IVE-GOT-1) to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which now coordinates Python Patrol, and a trained responder can be dispatched.

Twenty five different bird species, including the endangered wood stork, have been found in the digestive tracts of pythons in Everglades National Park, according to a March 2010 study.

In January 2012, a severe decline in a variety of mammal populations in the Everglades over the last eight years was documented in a report released by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences called Severe Mammal Declines Coincide with Proliferation of Invasive Burmese Pythons in Everglades National Park. Researchers correlated pythons with the dramatic declines in mammal numbers and noted other potential causes, like disease, are unlikely since so many species showed decline.

To reach a full-grown length of about 13 feet, one python would need to eat nearly 200 pounds of food over five years. Some captured Florida snakes have grown as large over 18 feet.

No injuries were reported in the removal of the python, though business as usual at the restaurant was interrupted momentarily.

[image via Naples news]