Record-breaking python found in Florida Everglades with 87 eggs

Sep 18, 2012 by David Fleshler

A monster Burmese python captured in the Everglades has broken the state size record, stretching 17 feet, 7 inches, its belly bursting with 87 eggs, the University of Florida announced in August.

The was brought to the Aug. 10 for examination. After the scientists are done with it, the snake will be mounted for exhibition at the museum for five years and then returned for exhibition to Everglades National Park.

"This thing is monstrous, it's about a foot wide," said Kenneth Krysko, manager of the museum's herpetology collection. "It means these snakes are surviving a long time in the wild, there's nothing stopping them and the are in trouble."

Feathers were found in the snake's stomach, and these will be examined by the museum's ornithologists. The number of was also a state record.

Burmese pythons, native to southern Asia, have established a breeding population in Everglades National Park, arriving in the United States via the exotic pet industry. Park officials are worried about their consumption of wildlife and competition with native predators.

"A 17.5-foot snake could eat anything it wants," Krysko said. "By learning what this animal has been eating and its reproductive status, it will hopefully give us insight into how to potentially manage other wild Burmese pythons in the future.

The previous size record had been 16.8 feet and the record quantity of eggs was 85.

This particular snake had been under surveillance in the wild for more than a month. Two contract employees for the U.S. Geological Survey captured it March 6 in some bushes near the Daniel Beard Center, a research station in the eastern part of the park, said Kristen Hart, research ecologist for the USGS.

They took it alive and brought it to the USGS office in Davie, where they fitted it with and other devices and returned it to the Everglades.

Like a captured spy who becomes a double agent, the snake now worked for the U.S. government. It became what scientists call a "Judas snake," used by scientists to locate other snakes as they congregated for mating. After following the snake's movements for several weeks, keeping it under surveillance by air and ground, they recaptured the snake April 19 and took it again to their offices in Davie. But this was the end of the snake's use to them, so it was euthanized using isoflurane gas.

They caught her before she laid the eggs. Newly hatched are about 18 inches long and have a high rate of survival, said Hart, of the USGS.

"When they hatch," she said, "they're ready to go."

Skip Snow, a biologist at who specializes in pythons, said the capture was dramatic evidence of the species' reproductive capability.

"There are not many records of how many eggs a large female snake carries in the wild," he said in a University of Florida news release. "This shows they're a really reproductive animal, which aids in their invasiveness."

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User comments : 8

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Deathclock
3 / 5 (2) Sep 18, 2012
Of all the articles to not include a picture...
ValeriaT
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 18, 2012
LariAnn
1 / 5 (5) Sep 18, 2012
. . . and more "invasion biology" pseudoscientific hype.
joidaho
2 / 5 (4) Sep 18, 2012
To kill a living creature for no other reason that it has outlived is usefulness is barbaric, unenlightened, and just plain bad. Obviously the USGS is not cognizant of the current and correct methods of caring for other living creatures, that is, respecting living beings in all their variety. Shame on those persons who made the decision to euthanize.
Deathclock
4 / 5 (7) Sep 18, 2012
To kill a living creature for no other reason that it has outlived is usefulness is barbaric, unenlightened, and just plain bad. Obviously the USGS is not cognizant of the current and correct methods of caring for other living creatures, that is, respecting living beings in all their variety. Shame on those persons who made the decision to euthanize.


It's an invasive non-native species that is a significant threat to many native species... These snakes are already responsible for the utter disappearance of several native species in the Everglades, including foxes and white-tail deer. They are trying to PROTECT the everglades:

http://en.wikiped..._species

Why are people so stupid? I think that too many people think with their hearts and not their heads and that many people are also prone to gut-instinct opinions rather than trying to find the facts about a given scenario.
Deathclock
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 18, 2012
. . . and more "invasion biology" pseudoscientific hype.


This is for you too, read it:
http://en.wikiped..._species
antonima
not rated yet Sep 18, 2012
They gotta eat amerca!!!
ScooterG
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 19, 2012
Place a bounty on them (the pythons) and turn the rednecks loose - problem solved.

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