FORT MYERS, Fla. — Southwest Florida biologists wrangled the largest Burmese python yet to be captured in the state of Florida.
A team of three hauled it from the Picayune Strand State Forest to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
“She put up a good fight it was probably 20 minutes just restraining her and making sure she didn’t bite anyone and making sure she didn’t escape and then after she was subdued we were able to carry her out," biologist Ian Easterling said.
The female python weighed 215 pounds and was nearly 18 feet in length.
“We didn’t think they could top 200 pounds," biologist Ian Bartoszek said.
The team said they were able to find this female python in Picayune Strand State Forest in Collier County because it was in close proximity to a male python they started tracking several months ago.
“Our male snakes are the best python detectors off the grid for female Burmese pythons," Bartoszek said.
The team conducted a necropsy on the reptile at the conservancy. While they were dissecting it, they discovered 122 eggs inside. Bartoszek said female pythons normally have around 40 eggs. The biologists said they have never seen something like this.
The necropsy also showed that one of the last meals the python had was an adult deer.
“That’s very much why we are after these snakes, that critical ecological impact that we are having," Bartoszek said.
Burmese pythons are an invasive species in the state of Florida. Wildlife experts said removing female pythons is critical to help disrupt the species' breeding cycle.