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215-Pound Python Seized By Scientists Breaks Record

215-Pound Python Seized By Scientists Breaks Record

The whopping snake was almost 18ft-long

Biologists have discovered the heaviest female Burmese python ever captured in Florida, weighing in at 215 pounds.

The huge python measures almost 18 feet long and is thought to be the heaviest ever found in the area.

Ian Bartoszek, wildlife biologist and environmental science project manager for Conservancy of Southwest Florida said the team used radio transmitters transplanted in male ‘scout’ snakes to make the discovery, the National Geographic reports

Bartoszek said: “How do you find the needle in the haystack? You could use a magnet, and in a similar way our male scout snakes are attracted to the biggest females around.” 

Conservancy of SWFL

Bartoszek and his team used a snake named Dionysus, or Dion as he’s also known, in an area of the everglades. 

“We knew he was there for a reason, and the team found him with the largest female we have seen to date,” he added. 

Biologist Ian Easterling and intern Kyle Findley helped capture the massive creature and load it onto a truck. 

A necropsy of the snake was able to determine what she had eaten prior to her death, and also discovered 122 developing eggs.

The conservancy said: "Furthermore, an assessment of the snake’s digestive contents found hoof cores, determining an adult white-tailed deer – a primary food source of the endangered Florida panther – to be the snake’s last meal.”

Findley said he ‘thought the scale was broken’ when the creature was weighed. 

The project aims to remove the invasive species, which eat local wildlife. 

Conservancy of SWFL

Bartoszek explained:"The removal of female pythons plays a critical role in disrupting the breeding cycle of these apex predators that are wreaking havoc on the Everglades ecosystem and taking food sources from other native species.”

He added: “This is the wildlife issue of our time for southern Florida.”

It’s thought the pythons were first introduced to the area in 1970s, when people released their pets into the wild. 

More than 15,000 of the species have been captured by Florida Fish & Wildlife since 2000 - while the exact number of pythons in the area remains unknown. 

Earlier this month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the annual prize-winning hunt for the pythons would kick off on 5 August. 

Prizes include $2,500 for the most pythons captured and $1,500 for the longest snake.

To take part, people must register online and kill the snakes humanely. 

“These pythons are a threat to the Everglades,” DeSantis said. “Let’s reel in some pythons.”

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Featured Image Credit: Conservancy of SWFL

Topics: Animals, US News