A giant python in Florida was discovered that might be the second largest one ever caught in the state.
CBS 4 reports that the huge snake, measuring 18-feet-3-inches long, was captured at Shark Valley in Everglades National Park on July 9. It was found along a tram road. The reptile was caught by a permitted python researcher who regularly works in Everglades National Park.
Many snakes removed from the park have reportedly exceeded 18-feet and weighing 150 pounds. Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey say that pythons of this size can digest large prey, such as deer and alligators.
The giant python found in Florida is just 4-inches shorter than the largest known snake captured in Florida. It’s also noted that Everglades National Park officials don’t officially track the sizes of snakes captured outside of the park.
Park officials say that the Burmese python have no natural predators and they’ve wiped out many of the smaller mammals that used to thrive in the Everglades National Park. Conversely, the good thing about this giant python is that it was removed from the wild in order to protect various species of wildlife in the national park. It’s considered an invasive species… one that began emerging in Florida decades ago due in large part to the international pet trade.
The giant python in Florida was “humanely euthanized,” according to Everglades National Park spokeswoman, Linda Friar. A necropsy helped researchers determine that the Burmese python was a female, but hadn’t reproduced this season. She didn’t have anything to speak of in her stomach, according to the report.
These snakes may number in South Florida from several thousands to 100,000 or more. The only thing that reins in their population is cold weather and “exotic pet amnesty days,” which is when “people can relinquish non-native species with no questions asked, have reliably delivered pythons to officials.”
Possession or sale of a python for use as pets is prohibited in the State of Florida.
In May 2013, a 19-foot-long python was killed by a man who spotted it along a road, Christian Post reported at the time.
Kristen Sommers, the Florida Wildlife Commission’s exotic species coordination leader, praised the man’s efforts by killing the giant python in Florida in order to help reduce the species’ population.
“Jason Leon’s nighttime sighting and capture of a Burmese python of more than 18-feet in length is a notable accomplishment that set a Florida record.”
[Photo Credit: USGS via CBS 4]