EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- The intact body of a 76-pound deer was found inside a nearly 16-foot-long Burmese python in the Florida Everglades, officials said.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported the adult female deer was found inside the snake after it was captured and killed Thursday on a tree island in western Miami-Dade County.
Skip Snow, a biologist and python specialist at Everglades National Park, who conducted the necropsy on the snake after it was killed by a shotgun blast, said it had a huge bulge from recently consuming the deer.
Burmese pythons have been breeding in the Everglades over the past several years after pet owners released pythons that had grown too large or escaped from enclosures during Hurricane Andrew, the Sun Sentinel said.
The snakes eat mainly smaller animals and birds, but larger pythons consume alligators, deer and hogs.
Work crews discovered the snake while walking on the island to remove non-native lygodium plants, said Scott Hardin, exotic species coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
"It's pretty clearly one of the biggest snakes we've seen," Hardin said. "We haven't gotten anything longer than 16 feet in the wild in Florida."