World’s heaviest 18-foot python caught in Florida

World’s heaviest 18-foot python caught in Florida

    (Image credit: Photo by Maggie Steber, National Geographic)

(Image credit: Photo by Maggie Steber, National Geographic)

The world’s fattest python was discovered in Florida and weighs an impressive 215 pounds.

Discovered in the swamps of Florida’s Picayune Strand State Forest, the giant Burmese python was so large it took three men to carry it out of the Everglades.

The discovery was part of the state’s python removal program, with the female weighing a whopping 215 pounds and nearly 18 feet long while having 122 developing eggs, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida said in a news release.

Researchers at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida captured this massive female python, believing it to be the largest ever recorded in Florida — or anywhere outside of its native range.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Douglas Main, senior writer and editor, senior writer and editor at National Geographic said, “It’s incredible because of the scale involved. It’s almost heavier than most people.

“It’s also cool because it shows the success of this technique with scout snakes, which are male pythons with GPS tags.” The males are released and the snakes lead them to large reproductive females.”

The team used radio transmitters implanted in a male “scout” snake to study movement, breeding behavior and habitat use.

Of the “scout snake,” said Ian Bartoszek, wildlife biologist and environmental science project manager for the conservancy’s program, “How do you find a needle in a haystack? You could use a magnet and similarly our male scout snakes will be attracted to the largest females around.”

The team deployed a scout snake named Dionysus – or Dion for short – to an area of ​​the western Everglades.

“We knew he was there for a reason and the team found him with the tallest woman we’ve seen to date.”

The boa was caught in December, euthanized and placed on ice in a freezer until April.

National Geographic’s Rebecca Dzombak traveled to a lab in Naples to watch researchers perform an autopsy.

It took about 48 hours for the carcass to thaw, and Dzombak said in her feature that “the smell doesn’t get better with time.”

Biologist Ian Easterling and intern Kyle Findley helped capture the female snake and transported it through the forest to the field truck.

An autopsy also found hoof cores in the snake’s digestive system, meaning an adult white-tailed deer was its last meal.

National Geographic documented the discovery, highlighting the ongoing impact of the invasive pythons, known for rapidly multiplying and depleting the surrounding native wildlife.

Bartoszek said the removal of female pythons plays a crucial role in disrupting the breeding cycle.

“This is the wildlife problem of our time for South Florida,” he said.

Since the conservancy’s python program began in 2013, more than 1,000 pythons have been removed from approximately 100 square miles of southwest Florida.

During that time, autopsies have found dozens of white-tailed deer in Burmese pythons, while data researchers at the University of Florida have documented 24 species of mammals, 47 species of birds and two species of reptiles from the stomachs of pythons.

Before the recent discovery, the largest female removed under the conservancy program weighed 185 pounds (84 kg) and was the heaviest python caught in Florida at the time, officials said.

The state’s Python removal program will run for two weeks in August. Contestants compete for prizes including $2,500 for catching the most pythons.

More than 600 people from 25 states took part in last year’s challenge.

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