Since July 17, authorities in Florida have allowed reptile hunters with special permits to capture and euthanize pythons that are thriving in the Everglades and other parts of the state, living off native species and harming the fragile ecosystem.
The largest python (a Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus – DZ) so far was captured on Thursday. It was a 207-pound (94.09 k.) male that measured more than 17-feet (5.18 m.) long and 26 inches (66 cm.) in diameter; however, it was not captured by one of the permitted hunters. Instead, it was shot on the 20-acre (8.09 h.) compound of the Okeechobee Veterinary Hospital by one of the vets who was alerted to its presence by his nephew. It is illegal to shoot pythons in Florida wildlife management areas or federal lands, but the snakes can be legally shot on private property.
The now-deceased snake is believed to be one of more than 100,000 pythons living in the Florida wilds. The snakes are often abandoned by disgruntled pet owners when they become too large to handle and too expensive to feed. They can reproduce rapidly with female pythons laying up to 80 eggs at a time, and they have no natural predators in Florida.
Hat tip to PBurns via Karen L. Myers.