We missed the story last year about two men in the photo above, from southern India, who were brought to the Florida habitat where invasive pythons are doing enough damage that we started paying attention eight years ago. We are thinking about it again, thanks to the Guardian:
Snake hunters have captured what they say is the largest python ever found in the swamps of the Florida Everglades: a pregnant female more than 17ft (5.2 metres) long and weighing 140lb, or 63.5kg.
The team from the Big Cypress National Preserve posted news of their record-setting catch in a Facebook post that also noted the giant reptile was carrying 73 eggs.
Environmentalists have been struggling to find ways to eradicate Burmese pythons, a non-native species, from the 1.5m-acre wilderness since the 1980s, when some were released into the wild as overgrown pets. Others escaped from a breeding facility wrecked by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Populations of raccoons, opossums and bobcats have fallen by between 88% and 99% as the python population has exploded, studies have shown, while several species of rabbits and foxes have all but disappeared. Experts believes tens of thousands of the snakes are currently slithering through Everglades waterways.
“All of the python work at Big Cypress is focused on controlling this invasive species, which poses significant threats to native wildlife,” the researchers wrote in the post.
They also said the record-breaking python was snared after its position was given away by a boyfriend – a so-called Judas snake.
“Using male pythons with radio transmitters allows the team to track the male to locate breeding females,” they said. “The team not only removes the invasive snakes, but collects data for research, develop new removal tools and learn how the pythons are using the preserve.”
They said their teams had been able to remove several other breeding females from the same area in recent months in partnership with the US Geological Survey.
Read the whole story here.