WATCH: Florida Environmentalists Capture 17-Foot-Long Python: Biggest Ever Found in the Everglades
This big mama is a small victory in the battle against the invasive species.
Last week was a big one for Florida snake hunters. On Friday, the resource management team at Big Cypress National Preserve announced the capture of what they say is the largest python ever found in the Everglades: a 17-foot-long pregnant female weighing 140 pounds and containing 73 developing eggs.
“All of the python work at Big Cypress is focused on controlling this invasive species, which poses significant threats to native wildlife,” the researchers wrote in a Facebook post (below) alongside a photo of the impressive reptile.
The team located the hefty breeding mama thanks to a male snake outfitted with a radio transmitter. The unknowing Romeo led snake hunters right to her.
According to The Guardian, environmentalists have been struggling to eradicate the non-native Burmese python from the Everglades since the 1980s, when some were released into the wild as overgrown pets. Others reportedly escaped from a breeding facility wrecked by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Studies have shown that populations of raccoons, opossums and bobcats have fallen as much as 99% as a result of python population explosion, and several species of rabbits and foxes have essentially disappeared. Experts believe tens of thousands of Burmese pythons currently reside in the murky waterways of the Florida Everglades.