Holy Herpetology! Burmese Python Found With Record 87 Eggs

A double record-setting Burmese python has been found in the Florida Everglades.

At 17 feet, 7 inches (5.3 meters) in length, it is the largest snake of its kind found in the state and it was carrying a record 87 eggs. Scientists say the finding highlights how dangerously comfortable the invasive species has become in its new home.

"This thing is monstrous, it's about a foot wide," said Kenneth Krysko, of the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. "It means these snakes are surviving a long time in the wild, there's nothing stopping them and the native wildlife are in trouble."

The giant female python was discovered in the Everglades National Park and had been stored since May in a freezer at the museum; on Friday, researchers at the museum studied its internal anatomy, making the wild discovery.

Florida is the world capital for invasive reptiles and amphibians, and the Burmese python, native to Southeast Asia, is one of the state's most prominent new residents. The snake was introduced to Florida by the exotic pet trade three decades ago and is now one of the region's deadliest and most competitive predators. [See Photos of Record Burmese Python]

"They were here 25 years ago, but in very low numbers and it was difficult to find one because of their cryptic behavior," Krysko said in a statement from the University of Florida. "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."

Officials worry that the snakes pose a threat to humans, as well as to native, endangered species, which turn up in the pythons' stomachs. This record-breaking, 164.5-pound (75-kg) specimen found in Everglades National Park had feathers in its belly that will be identified by museum ornithologists, the researchers said. Research published this year suggested the pythons are not only eating the Everglades' birds but they're also snatching, and likely swallowing whole birds' eggs.

Population estimates for the Burmese python in Florida range from the thousands to hundreds of thousands, the researchers said. Studying this massive female specimen with dozens of babies on board could help scientists understand how to curb the spread of the python and other invasive animals.

"By learning what this animal has been eating and its reproductive status, it will hopefully give us insight into how to potentially manage other wild Burmese pythons in the future," Krysko said.

Previous state records for Burmese pythons found in the wild were 16.8 feet (5.1 meters) long and 85 eggs, the researchers said.

Follow LiveScience on Twitter @livescience. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Copyright 2012 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Manny Pacquiao has always believed he can do what 47 other fighters before him have failed to do — beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the ring. …

  • Another source of SAF execution video identified
    Another source of SAF execution video identified

    The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is still tracing the source of the video showing one of the wounded police commandos being finished off by Muslim rebels during the encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A source from the Department of Justice (DOJ) said they have identified two persons who first uploaded the video that went viral over social networking sites. The supposed source of the video was elusive and claimed that somebody just placed it on an external drive. The …

  • US ambassador slashed in Seoul attack
    US ambassador slashed in Seoul attack

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was slashed on his face and arm by a blade-wielding assailant shouting anti-war slogans in an attack in Seoul Thursday, police and reports said. The United States strongly condemned the "act of violence" which left the ambassador bleeding profusely as he was rushed to hospital, and said that President Barack Obama had spoken with him. "The President called (Lippert) to tell him that he and his wife Robyn are in his thoughts and prayers, and to …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options