Thursday, December 5, 2013
A 17-foot-7-inch Burmese python found in the Florida Everglades set a state record for both its size and the 87 eggs it was carrying, according to an official at the national park.
Claudia Grant, left, Leroy Nunez and Nicholas Coutu with a 17-foot, 7-inch Burmese python, the largest ever found in Florida, at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.
University of Florida photo by Kristen Grace/Florida Museum of Natural History
The 164.5-pound snake was found, tagged and released in March as a part of a program to study invasive species in the Everglades. Scientists at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the University of Florida's Gainesville campus recaptured the python in April and discovered the eggs during an examination Friday, said Linda Friar, public information officer for Everglades National Park.
"There are not many records of how many eggs a large female snake carries in the wild," said Skip Snow, a park wildlife biologist.
"This shows they're a really reproductive animal, which aids in their invasiveness."
A species is found to be invasive if it causes economic damage, environmental harm or threatens human health. The Burmese python was deemed an injurious species this year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Florida's invasive reptile and amphibian crisis is considered the world's worst.
The Burmese python is indigenous to Southeast Asia and is believed to have entered the Everglades through both intentional and accidental pet releases.