97 kilos and 122 eggs in her abdomen

A team of biologists from Florida captured in the Everglades wetland a giant female Burmese python of 5.49 meters and 97 kilosthe largest caught to date in this southern state of USA.

This was announced on Wednesday 22 The Conservancy of Southwest Floridathe environmental organization that works for the team of wildlife biologists who “recently discovered and captured the python.”

When performing a necropsy on this invasive species, the experts discovered that stored 122 eggs in its abdomenwhich also establishes another new record in terms of the number of eggs a python can produce in its breeding cycle.

The giant female Burmese python, almost 18 feet long (5.49 meters) and 215 pounds (97 kilos), captured in the Everglades wetland in Florida. EFE/Conservancy SWFL

How they got to the female python

Additionally, an evaluation of the snake’s digestive contents found “hoof cores,” which determined that an adult deer, a primary food source for the endangered Florida panther, was the last meal of the snake.

The location was carried out thanks to the research program of this organization, which uses radio transmitters implanted in male snakescalled “explorers”, in order to “understand the movements of the python and its reproductive behaviors”.

Biologist Ian Bartoszek with a 97-kilogram female Burmese python captured while tracking a male scout snake in Picayune Strand State Forest.  (Southwest Florida Conservancy via AP)

Biologist Ian Bartoszek with a 97-kilogram female Burmese python captured while tracking a male scout snake in Picayune Strand State Forest. (Southwest Florida Conservancy via AP)

These “explorer” snakes lead biologists to the large breeding females.”which allows the “elimination” of these and their eggs.

“How do you find the needle in the haystack? You could use a magnet, and similarly, our male scout snakes are attracted to larger females,” Ian Bartoszek, a wildlife biologist and project manager, said in a statement. of environmental sciences from the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

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So this season, scientists tracked a male scout snake named “Dionysus” to a region in the western Everglades wetland, which he frequented for several weeks. “We knew he was there for a reason, and the team found him with the largest female we’ve seen to date,” Bartoszek said.

Team biologist Ian Easterling and project assistant Kyle Findley helped capture the record-sized female and hauled her through the woods to the truck.

Biologists Ian Bartoszek, right, and Ian Easterling, center, with intern Kyle Findley and a female Burmese python.  (Southwest Florida Conservancy via AP)

Biologists Ian Bartoszek, right, and Ian Easterling, center, with intern Kyle Findley and a female Burmese python. (Southwest Florida Conservancy via AP)

The discovery, which was recently documented by National Geographichighlights the continuing impact of this invasive species on the habitat of native animals, a species known for its rapid reproduction and threat to surrounding native wildlife.

Eradicating female pythons plays a critical role in disrupting the reproductive cycle of these predators that are wreaking havoc on the Everglades ecosystem and consuming the food sources of other native species, Bartoszek said.

The Burmese python is an invasive species that finds no natural predators in the Everglades wetland ecosystem, the largest in North America.

In Florida, the possession and sale of this type of reptiles as pets is prohibited and their importation is not allowed throughout the country.

Burmese pythons are believed to have entered the Everglades by being released on purpose by people who kept them as pets or inadvertently following Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Since the Conservancy’s python program began in 2013, more than 1,000 copies have been withdrawn from an area of ​​about 25,900 hectares (100 square miles) in southwestern Florida.

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In that time, necropsies have uncovered dozens of white-tailed deer inside Burmese pythons. Researchers at the University of Florida have documented 24 species of mammals, 47 species of birds and two species of reptiles in the stomachs of pythons.

Before the recent discovery, the largest python ever documented in the Conservancy’s program weighed in at 185 pounds (84 kilograms), the heaviest ever caught in Florida at the time, according to officials.

The statewide python removal program takes place over two weeks in August. Participants compete for prizes, including $2,500 for whoever catches the most specimens.

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

With information from EFE and AP

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