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The largest Burmese python ever found in the Florida Everglades has been trapped by scientists with the help of another snake.
The huge 18ft long female weighed 215lbs and was discovered with 122 developing eggs inside her, another record.
She was spotted by wildlife biologists from the Conservancy of Southwest Floridawho tracks and studies Burmese pythons – an invasive species.
The team used radio transmitters transplanted into male “scout” snakes to study the pythons’ movements, breeding behaviors and habitat use.
“How do you find the needle in the haystack?” asked project manager Ian Bartoszek, rhetorically.
“You could use a magnet, and similarly our male scout snakes are attracted to larger females around.”
The team was tracking the male python Dionysus, named after the Greek god of fertility, to an area in the western Everglades.
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“We knew he was there for a reason, and the team found him with the largest female we’ve seen to date,” Bartoszek said.
“The removal of female pythons plays a critical role in disrupting the reproductive cycle of these apex predators that wreak havoc on the Everglades ecosystem and take food sources from other native species.
“It’s the wildlife problem of our time for South Florida.”
Biologist Ian Easterling and intern Kyle Findley helped capture the female and transport her through the woods to the field truck.
Since the conservation’s python program began in 2013, they’ve removed more than 1,000 pythons from about 100 square miles in southwest Florida.
Prior to the recent discovery, the largest female removed as part of the conservation program weighed 185 pounds and was the heaviest python captured at the time in Florida, officials said.
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