Water district workers in South Florida capture and kill a 17-foot, 8 inch Burmese python.
Water district workers in South Florida found a 17-foot, 8 inch Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) during a routine inspection of a canal early this week and called the South Florida Water Management District's python coordinator who came and dispatched it with a shot to the head. The snake was one of the largest found in recent years in or near Everglades National Park. This particular python weighed in at 150 pounds and was found in a wooded uplands area near wetlands just north of Everglades National Park.
Last year, an 18-foot, 8-inch snake was captured and killed in Miami-Dade County by a college student who was out riding all terrain vehicles with friends in southeast Miami-Dade County, and a 17-foot, 7-inch specimen was captured and killed in the Florida Everglades in April 2012. That snake, a female was carrying 87 eggs. It was considered a state record at the time for the size of the snake as well as the number of eggs it was carrying.
Florida has been grappling with the invasive species since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 destroyed an exotic pet dealer's warehouse. Last year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission held a python hunting contest called the Python Challenge in an effort to reduce the number of pythons in the Everglades. Hunters captured 68 pythons during the hunt, the largest which measured 17-feet, six inches and weighed 164 pounds. More than 1,000 hunters entered the challenge.
The Burmese python is an invasive snake that is thriving in the Florida Everglades. They can grow to more than 20 feet in the wild and weigh more than 200 pounds. Their native range is in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. The United States banned the importation and transportation of the Burmese python and several other species in March 2012.