A Burmese python that measured more than 16 feet long was captured from under a house in the Florida Everglades Saturday, and her nest of up to 50 hatching eggs was destroyed.
The invasive snake, which weighed 165 pounds, nearly broke the record for the biggest Burmese python ever captured in the Everglades. The biggest one, captured in April, stretched 17 feet long.
Everglades conservationist and South Florida Water Management District Board member “Alligator” Ron Bergeron helped capture the giant snake after it was spotted by two campers under a house at an Everglades camp about 4 miles south of Alligator Alley in Broward County.
Native to southern Asia, Burmese pythons were first discovered in the Everglades two decades ago, according to CBS Miami. They were imported or bred as pets and have colonized the Everglades, taking a huge toll on native mammals, birds, and alligators.
“The Burmese Python poses a significant threat to the Florida Everglades by disrupting the natural food chain,” said Bergeron. “With good fortune, we were able to find a large female, and remove her and an entire nest of up to 50 baby snakes which would have continued killing off our precious habitat.”
In their native range, Burmese pythons commonly reach 18 feet, and the largest specimens exceed 20 feet, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). In Florida, they are typically between 6 and 10 feet long, and as adults, are larger than almost all native snakes.
Burmese pythons are such a problem to native wildlife in and around the Everglades ecosystem that the FWC actually runs an incentive program — the Python Pickup Program — designed to encourage the public to humanely kill Burmese pythons from the Everglades ecosystem and report locations to the FWC.
People who submit proof of python with location of removal will be entered into a drawing scheduled for October 2020, and can win prizes.