August 15, 2012
Record-breaking Giant Burmese Python Caught In The Florida Everglades
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Florida's infestation of the Giant Burmese python species has gained even more ground this week, as scientists announced a record has been set in the state for the alien snake species.
The biggest Burmese python ever caught in the Florida wilderness has been reported in the Everglades, measuring 17-feet, 7-inches.
Recording breaking doesn't just stop at the size of the snake. The researchers say that the python was pregnant with 87 eggs.
With the latest discovery, scientists have even more evidence now of how far integrated the foreign species has become in the Florida wild.
"It means these snakes are surviving a long time in the wild," Kenneth Krysko, at the Florida Museum of Natural History, said in a statement. "There's nothing stopping them, and the native wildlife are in trouble."
He said the snake had feathers in its stomach, and the scientists are now trying to determine which species was its last meal.
"A 17-and-a-half-foot snake could eat anything it wants," Krysko added.
Pythons in Florida have already been known to swallow animals like large deer and alligators, so they also pose a threat to humans.
The record-breaking snake will be exhibited at the museum on the University of Florida campus for five years before being returned to the Everglades National Park.
Scientists speculate that Florida could host as many as tens of thousands of the python species in the Everglades. The area's warm, humid climate makes the perfect home for the giant snake species.
Experts believe the invasive species became rampant in Florida after the snakes had escaped pet shops during Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Rob Robins, a biologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History, said the snakes are hard to catch, and since they have established themselves, they will be virtually impossible to eradicate.
"I think you're going to see more and more big snakes like this caught," he told Fox News.