Advertisement
  1. News

Burmese python bagged in Everglades measures 18 feet, 3 inches and 133 pounds

University of Florida researchers captured this female Burmese python, measuring 18 feet, 3 inches, and weighing 133 pounds, while tracking invasive species at Shark Valley in Everglades National Park on July 9.[U.S. Geological Survey]
Published Jul. 30, 2015

A massive python slithering along the tram road at Shark Valley in Everglades National Park may be one for the record books.

Nabbed by University of Florida researchers studying invasive species in the park earlier this month, the female measured 18 feet, three inches and weighed 133 pounds. That's three inches shy of the record-holder — beheaded by a man riding an ATV in Florida City in 2013 — but five pounds heavier than previous snakes captured in the Florida wild.

UF wildlife biologist Brad Metzger and intern Sky Button spotted the snake July 9 after wrapping up an evening survey, said UF Professor Frank Mazzotti.

"They finished their survey and kind of looked at each other and said let's take one more turn around Shark River," he said. "I'm sure they were pretty excited."

First introduced as escaped pets, Burmese pythons have taken over as the top predator in the southern Everglades, driving down populations of small mammals and threatening to permanently change the ecosystem. In their native range, they can grow to 20 feet. Eighteen feet is big, but not unheard of, said Tylan Dean, chief of the park's biological research branch.

"It's a top 1 percent, but it's also within the known size range. So we expect over time to encounter these large animals," he said.

A necropsy showed the snake had not laid any eggs in a year — good news since a typical clutch can number as many as 100. Most adult pythons are typically captured in the summer months along levees and roads in the marshes where they come to sun themselves. But females can also be found in summer months on the move after eggs hatch, Mazzotti said.

Dean speculated the snake could have been lured into the open by the cool evening air. Over the years, researchers who started their work in 2008, have caught between 95 and 100 of the stealthy snakes which have proved efficient at avoiding capture, Mazzotti said. Dean said the park does not track sizes because measurements matter less than the number of snakes recorded. However, state wildlife officials do.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. First page of school data report Times staff
    Find your school in these reports.
  2. Colleen Beaudoin is selected Pasco County School Board chairwoman for 2020, and Allen Altman is named vice chairman. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Altman chosen as vice chairman.
  3. Melissa Snively and Steve Cona III are the new chair and vice chair of the Hillsborough County School Board. MARLENE   |  Times staff
    Steve Cona III is vice chair.
  4. The David A. Straz Jr Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa was one of several buildings named for the philanthropist and banker. [DENNIS JOYCE   |   Times] DENNIS JOYCE  |  Tampa Bay Times (2018)
    The David A. Straz Jr Foundation donated more than $33 million to dozens of organizations in nearly 20 years
  5. Port Tampa Bay president and CEO Paul Anderson. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times (2017)]
    Port commissioners approved the raise after a year with milestone achievements on several fronts.
  6. United States Air Force veteran Daniel Carmichael, of Inverness, shares his opinion before a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners of Citrus County on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at the Citrus County Courthouse in Inverness, where the Citrus County Commission is expected to render a decision on whether to get digital subscriptions for the New York Times for all 70,000 of the county library cardholders. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes
    After two hours of debate, a motion to move forward with digital subscriptions for library cardholders fails 3-2.
  7. A sinkhole opened up beneath a phosphogypsum stack at Mosaic's Mulberry plant in 2016, draining 215 million gallons of waste into the aquifer below. Neither the company nor the state Department of Environmental Protection notified the public until a television report revealed what happened. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times (2016)]
    Problem at Bartow plant began in October, but public was given no notice.
  8. In December 2017, two masked motorcycle gang members were accused of assassinating Paul Anderson, 44,  president of the Cross Bayou chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club while his pickup was stopped at a traffic light in Pasco County. [Pasco County Sheriffs Office]
    Evidence from the federal trial of two members of the 69′ers Motorcycle Club offers a rare glimpse of the world of outlaw biker gangs.
  9. David Straz and his wife Catherine at Karamu, the annual black-tie gala at ZooTampa in April. AMY SCHERZER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The future of Straz’s foundation remained unclear Tuesday. Meanwhile, police say Straz died of natural causes at a Citrus County waterfront home.
  10. David Straz Jr. passed away this week at age 77. JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The retired banker supported causes from the arts to the zoo. Here’s a sampling of reaction to his death.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement