Deep Dives Level Up Newsletters Saved Articles Challenges

World’s biggest snake captured in Florida has 122 eggs developing inside

By Sam Wareing

Jun 23, 2022

COPY URL

A gigantic 18 feet Burmese python has been discovered in the Everglades of Southwestern Florida. Wildlife biologists from the Conservancy of Southwest Florida spotted the monstrous female, who was discovered to have 122 eggs developing inside her—another record, by the way—with the help of special ‘scout’ male pythons.

The Burmese python is an invasive species to the Everglades, so the Conservancy routinely removes female pythons to help disrupt their breeding cycles and combat the destruction of the local habitat.

These ‘scout’ males are fitted with a special radio transmitter that allows the researchers to track their movements through the environment. In a Conservancy press release, project manager Ian Bartoszek said, “How do you find the needle in the haystack? […] You could use a magnet, and in a similar way our male scout snakes are attracted to the biggest females around.”

A male python named Dionysus—after the Greek god of fertility—led the team directly to the gigantic female. “We knew he was there for a reason, and the team found him with the largest female we have seen to date,” said Bartoszek.

215 pounds and 18 feet long, this was the biggest female Burmese python ever recorded by the Conservancy, with the previous record holder coming in at a measly 185 pounds.

Talking about the effect this invasive species is having on the Everglades, Bartoszek added, “The removal of female pythons plays a critical role in disrupting the breeding cycle of these apex predators that are wreaking havoc on the Everglades ecosystem and taking food sources from other native species […] This is the wildlife issue of our time for Southern Florida.”

Since the beginning of the python programme in 2013, the Conservancy has removed around 1,000 pythons from roughly 100 square miles in Southwest Florida.