Video: Scientists wrestle with monstrous, 17-foot long Burmese python
Record-breaking python indicates snakes are surviving long into the wild, endangering animal population
What does a 17-and-a-half foot python eat? "Anything it wants!" one researcher says, after scientists managed to wrestle the monster into submission in order to kill and study it. The python had been slithering about the Florida everglades and was carrying 87 eggs at the time of its capture.
An amazing video shows three adult men from USGS controlling the python. One declares that with even all of his muscle "she's still stronger than me."
The python brought in for research was healthy and well-fed, according to Florida Museum herpetology collection manager Kenneth Krysko. In the python's stomach feathers were found the remains of bobcats, deer and other large animals.
"This thing is monstrous, it's about a foot wide," [...] Krysko [said]. "It means these snakes are surviving a long time in the wild, there's nothing stopping them and the native wildlife are in trouble," Krysko says.
"By learning what this animal has been eating and its reproductive status, it will hopefully give us insight into how to potentially manage other wild Burmese pythons in the future. It also highlights the actual problem, which is invasive species."
According to the python's stats, it all just goes to show how pervasive the invasive snakes, which are native to Southeast Asia, have become in South Florida.
Tens of thousands of Burmese pythons are believed to be living in the Everglades. Pythons thrive in warm, humid climates. While many of the snakes were apparently released by private owners, others may have escaped from pet shops during Hurricane Andrew in 1992, reproducing ever since.
"I think you're going to see more and more big snakes like this caught," Rob Robins, a biologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History says. Since the snakes are very hard to catch, they have established themselves in the Everglades, making them virtually impossible to eradicate.
According to the university, the previous records for Burmese pythons captured in the wild in the state were 16.8 feet and 85 eggs.
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