The biggest Burmese python ever caught in Florida — 17 feet, 7 inches long and 164½ pounds — was found in Everglades National Park, the University of Florida announced Monday.
The snake was pregnant with 87 eggs, also said to be a record. Scientists said the python’s stats show just how pervasive the invasive snakes, which are native to Southeast Asia, have become in South Florida.
“It means these snakes are surviving a long time in the wild,” said Kenneth Krysko, a snake expert at the Florida Museum of Natural History, where the euthanized snake was brought. “‘There’s nothing stopping them and the native wildlife are in trouble.”
The python had feathers in its stomach that scientists plan to use to identify the types of wildlife it was eating.
“A 17½-foot snake could eat anything it wants,” Krysko said.
Tens of thousands of Burmese pythons are believed to be living in the Everglades, where they thrive in the warm, humid climate. While many were apparently released by their owners, others may have escaped from pet shops during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and have been reproducing ever since.