Giant Snakes in Florida Become Ginormous
You read back in 2010 ("Snakes on Plains") about the danger of pet-store castoff snakes populating Florida's Everglades, including the reticulated python, "the snake most associated with unprovoked human fatalities in the wild." You've seen the picture of the 13-foot Burmese python in South Florida that expired as it tried to eat an alligator. The latest image fueling Floridians' nightmares is of the 17-foot-7-inch Burmese python captured by researchers at the University of Florida. Weighing in at 164.5 pounds, the snake smashes the previous record of 16.8 feet.
"They were here 25 years ago, but in very low numbers and it was difficult to find one because of their cryptic behavior," [Florida Museum herpetology collection manager Kenneth] Krysko said. "Now, you can go out to the Everglades nearly any day of the week and find a Burmese python. We've found 14 in a single day."
Pythons have no natural predators in the Everglades, but plenty of prey, including native birds, bobcats, deer, even alligators. Notes Krysko: "A 17.5-foot snake could eat anything it wants." And the scariest data point of all: This enormous serpent was pregnant, carrying a total of 87 eggs the size of goose eggs. As Samuel Jackson would say: "Enough is ENOUGH!"
Image by Kristen Grace, Florida Museum.