One of the largest Pythons ever captured in Florida measure 18-feet, 3 inches and was caught in the Everglades National Park on a road in Shark Valley. The Burmese Python was the second largest snake ever taken in Florida; five inches less that a 18 foot, 8-inch Burmese Python caught in Miami in 2013.
Park officials plan to remove the snake from the wild following its long-standing program to remove non-native species from the Park. "We want to protect our native fauna and maintain our natural diversity," said Park officials.
National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey interns, who are doing the "hands-on" work on controlling invasive species held the snake to help instill confidence and gain experience handling Burmese pythons, a species that has been increasing its presence in South Florida since......
The python was "humanely euthanized" according to Linda Friar, an Everglades Park official who spoke to the media about the process. She also said the snake was a female, had not reproduced in this season and that its stomach was empty.
Removing pythons is the responsibility of the Burmese Python Removal Program operated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who was charged with the task of "controlling the populations of the invasive snake" which was first found in the wild lands of South Florida in the early 1980's. The program took on higher priority when Burmese pythons were officially recognized as reproducing naturally in the habitat. Sighting have since become far more frequent and has resulted in an exponential explosion in python numbers.
Officials use traps, live captures, "pet amnesty days" and respond to reported sightings calls to try and reduce snake populations but so far, the successes have been few. The "amnesty days" program was created to get people who have pythons as pets to turn them in rather than release them in the wild; the method most believe is how the species got its start in Florida habitat.
Federal law prohibits the "importation and interstate sale" of the species and Florida law specifically makes it illegal to "possess or sell" pythons as pets.
There are currently an estimated 50-200,000 Burmese pythons in South Florida and from the data collected and studied over the past ten years the population continues to grow.
Fast Facts: Courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Fast Facts - Burmese pythons in the wild in Florida
Approximately 112,000 of these Asian snakes have been imported into the United States since 1990.
Everglades National Park has been the site of suspected releases of these exotic pets. The National Park Service reported the removal of 311 Burmese pythons from the Everglades in 2008.