Snake h̳u̳n̳t̳e̳r̳s̳ working to remove the thousands of invasive Burmese pythons plaguing the Florida Everglades just made a record-breaking capture. While the average Burmese python found in the Everglades ranges from 8 to 10 feet, per Florida Fish and Wildlife officials, this latest catch is being called a “behemoth of a snake” for its massive size: a whopping 18 feet and 9 inches (and a hefty 104 pounds!).
The previous record was made back in 2013 with a snake measuring 18 feet and 8 inches. “The removal of this behemoth Burmese python is a triumph for our native wildlife and habitats,” FWC Commissioner Rodney Barreto said in a press release.
With South Florida Water Management District’s Python Elimination Program, volunteer snake trappers carefully search for the invasive species that has been threatening native wildlife in the swampy area for years. The snakes are said to be one of the largest on the planet, having the ability to grow up to 20 feet long.
The state has made it a priority to humanely remove them from the national park in an effort to preserve the delicate Everglades ecosystem, as the pythons have taken a liking to the area’s wildlife, including birds, small critters, and even alligators.
Trappers Ryan Ausburn and Kevin Pavlidis, who both caught the colossal giant, are members with the FWC’s and SFWMD’s python elimination programs. Since the start of the joint programs, more than 5,000 invasive Burmese pythons have been eradicated from the wetlands.
The Burmese python has made a long journey to the Sunshine State. Its native home is said to be in select areas in C̳h̳i̳n̳a̳, India, the Malay Peninsula, and in some islands within the East Indies, according to the FWC.
Officials say the large reptile is extremely popular in the pet trade since they are “more docile than other large nonnative constrictors.” But since they can grow an alarming length, pet owners have either released them into the wild or the snake somehow makes an escape. And since a female can lay up to 100 eggs at a time, keeping track of and containing them is a challenge. (You guessed it: Burmese pythons are no longer permitted as pets in Florida. The only exception is if the snake was acquired prior to 2010.)
Although Burmese pythons are not venomous, they can still pose a threat to humans and small pets. Most human attacks, however, are typically between the owner and the snake.
Here is the detail video: