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Burmese Python Measuring Over 18 Feet Captured In Everglades National Park

A Burmese python captured in Everglades National Park earlier this month is one of the largest ever caught in Florida. It measured 18 feet and 3 inches.

Python researchers found the enormous snake along the tram road at Shark Valley on July 9.

“We expect to occasionally encounter large pythons in this size range as we continue python removal efforts, though most pythons that we encounter are smaller,” said Tylan Dean, the Everglades’ chief of biological services.

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The average adult Burmese python caught in Florida measures 6 to 9 feet, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The record-holder, caught and killed by a man who found it in rural Miami-Dade in May 2013, measured 18 feet and 8 inches. 

Everglades officials could not confirm whether the snake recently captured is the second largest in Florida because they don’t keep track of that information. 

“A few inches difference is not biologically meaningful,” Dean said. “This snake was in the top 1 percent in terms of length, but there have been several others in this same length class.”

Burmese pythons, one of the world’s largest snake species, have become a serious concern in South Florida. This is often thanks to unauthorized releases of the invasive species into the Everglades by pet owners.

Although the estimated tens of thousands of Burmese pythons populating the Everglades don’t present much danger to park visitors, according to U.S. Geological Survey and National Park Service experts, they’re an environmental hazard in the area since the snakes prey upon native birds, mammals and sometimes even alligators.

Dean said the more than 18-foot-long snake was humanely euthanized. A necropsy showed that the python was female, and its stomach was empty.

“The best news about this event is that this snake has been removed from the wild, which helps protect the diverse wildlife we have in Everglades National Park,” Dean said.