In a discovery certain to send shivers down the spine of anyone working in the Everglades tourism bureau, Florida officials Monday announced the capture of the largest Burmese python ever found in the Sunshine State – a leviathan more than 17 feet in length.
Not only was the python of record-setting length – at 17-feet-seven-inches it broke the old state record by nearly a foot – extremely long, it also contained 87 eggs, also thought to be a record.
“This thing is monstrous, it’s about a foot wide,” Kenneth Krysko, the herpetology collection manager at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Scientists at the University of Florida-based museum examined the 164.5-pound snake on Friday as part of a government research project into managing the pervasive effect of Burmese pythons in Florida, according to Agence France-Presse.
The giant snakes are native to Southeast Asia and were first found in the Everglades in 1979. They prey on native birds, deer, bobcats, alligators and other large animals.
Pythons kill their prey by coiling around it and suffocating it. They have been known to swallow animals as large as deer and alligators.
“A 17½-foot snake could eat anything it wants,” Krysko said.