NAPLES, Fla. – – A record-breaking Burmese python found in the Everglades is now the largest documented of its species found in Florida, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida announced Wednesday.
The female python is nearly 18 feet long, weighs 215 pounds and was found with 122 developing eggs in her abdomen, officials said.
Biologists have used “scout snakes” to find the oversized python that works by implanting radio transmitters into male snakes to help wildlife officials understand the animal’s patterns and movements.
“How do you find the needle in the haystack? You can use a magnet and similarly our male scout snakes are attracted to larger females around,” said Ian Bartoszek, wildlife biologist and environmental science project manager for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
The scout snakes led biologists to the discovery of the now largest Burmese python in Florida history.
The Burmese python is an invasive species in Florida and is known for its rapid reproduction and depletion of native wildlife, officials said.
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“The removal of female pythons plays a critical role in disrupting the reproductive cycle of these apex predators that wreak havoc on the Everglades ecosystem and take food sources from other native species,” Bartoszek said.
Since 2013, the Conservancy has removed over 1,000 pythons from the Southwest Florida region.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Burmese pythons can be humanely killed on private land at any time with the landowner’s permission and without a permit.
Click here for more information on removing pythons in Florida.