A team of biologists recently caught heaviest and largest Burmese python ever caught in Florida, authorities said.
The female python weighed 215 pounds, was nearly 18 feet long and had 122 developing eggs, The Conservancy of Southwest Florida said in a news release.
how they caught her
The team used radio transmitters transplanted into male “scout” snakes to study the pythons’ movements, reproductive behaviors and habitat use. said Ian Bartoszek, wildlife biologist and environmental science project manager for the conservation program.
“How do you find the needle in the haystack? You could use a magnet, and similarly, our male scout snakes are attracted to larger females,” explained Bartoszek. The team used a scout snake named Dionysus, or Dion for short, in an area of the western Everglades. “We knew it was there for a reason, and the team found it with the largest female we’ve seen to date.”
Biologist Ian Easterling and intern Kyle Findley helped capture the female snake and transport it through the woods to the field truck.
National Geographic documented the discovery, highlighting the continuing impact of invasive pythons, which are known for their rapid reproduction and depletion of surrounding native wildlife.
Bartoszek said that the removal of female pythons plays a critical role in disrupting the breeding cycle. “This is the wildlife problem of our time for South Florida.”
Since The Conservancy’s python program began in 2013, they have removed more than 1,000 pythons from about 100 square miles in southwest Florida.
Before the recent discovery, the largest female taken through the conservation program weighed 185 pounds (84 kilograms) and was the heaviest python captured at the time in Florida, officials said.
The state’s python removal program runs for two weeks in August. Participants compete for prizes, including $2,500 for capturing the most pythons.
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