MIAMI (WFOR/CBS Newspath) – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Python Action Team has broken two of its records in its hunt for invasive Burmese pythons.
The team that catches and gets rid of pythons has now removed 900 Burmese pythons from the wild in Florida, including a large 18 foot, 4-inch long female python – the largest ever captured by the team.
FWC PAT members Cynthia Downer and Jonathan Lopez captured the large adult female python weighing 98 pounds, 10 ounces, on Sept. 22 at Big Cypress National Preserve.
In addition to being the largest snake ever captured by the PAT team, it is also the largest ever captured in Big Cypress. The snake is also the second-largest python ever caught in the wild in Florida, only 4 inches shorter than the longest wild python ever captured in the state.
Capturing large adult females is critical because it prevents them from potentially adding an average of 30 to 60 hatchlings to the population each time they breed.
FWC PAT member Bobby Monroe captured the team’s 900th python on Sept. 24 in the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area in Miami-Dade County. That python was just over 2 feet, weighing just a quarter of a pound.
The FWC Python Action Team members are paid to survey and capture Burmese pythons in specific areas throughout the state.
Burmese pythons are an invasive species in and around the Everglades. Scientists say they have eliminated 99-percent of the native mammals in the Everglades, decimating food sources for native predators such as panthers and alligators. Native populations of bobcats, opossums, raccoons, foxes and rabbits have been devastated.
Because of their large size, adult Burmese pythons have few predators, with alligators and humans being the exceptions.
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