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Monday, August 15, 2022
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    Florida team hauls in 5-metre, 98-kilogramme Burmese python

    NAPLES, FLORIDA (AP) – A team of biologists recently hauled in the heaviest Burmese python ever captured in Florida, officials said.

    The female python weighed in at 98 kilogrammes, was nearly five metres and had 122 developing eggs, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida said in a news release.

    The team used radio transmitters transplanted in male “scout” snakes to study python movements, breeding behaviors and habitat use, said Ian Bartoszek, wildlife biologist and environmental science project manager for the conservancy’s programme.

    “How do you find the needle in the haystack? You could use a magnet, and in a similar way our male scout snakes are attracted to the biggest females around,” Bartoszek said.

    The team used a scout snake named Dionysus – or Dion for short – in an area of the western Everglades.

    Biologists Ian Easterling (L) and Ian Bartoszek with a 14-foot female Burmese python captured in mangrove habitat of southwestern Florida. PHOTO: AP

    “We knew he was there for a reason, and the team found him with the largest female we have seen to date.”

    Biologist Ian Easterling and intern Kyle Findley helped capture the female snake and haul it through the woods to the field truck.

    A necropsy also found hoof cores in the snake’s digest system, meaning that an adult white-tailed deer was its last meal.

    National Geographic documented the discovery, highlighting the continued impact of the invasive pythons, which are known for rapid reproduction and depletion of surrounding native wildlife.

    Bartoszek said removal of female pythons plays a critical role in disrupting the breeding cycle.

    “This is the wildlife issue of our time for southern Florida,” he said.

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