Record-size python in Fla. yields 87 eggs

Aug. 14, 2012 at 2:09 PM

GAINESVILLE, Fla., Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Researchers examining a Burmese python measuring 17-foot-7, the largest ever found in Florida, say they've discovered 87 eggs in the snake, also a state record.

Scientists at the Florida Museum of Natural History examined the euthanized 164.5-pound snake Friday, a release from the University of Florida, home of the museum, said Monday.

"This thing is monstrous. It's about a foot wide," museum herpetology collection manager Kenneth Krysko said. "It means these snakes are surviving a long time in the wild, there's nothing stopping them and the native wildlife are in trouble."

Native to Southeast Asia, tens of thousands of Burmese pythons are thought to be living in the Everglades.

While many were likely released by their owners, others may have escaped from pet stores during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and have been reproducing in the warm, humid climate of the Everglades ever since, wildlife experts say.

Skip Snow, an Everglades National Park wildlife biologist, said research on the snake's biology is important for understanding how to curtail the future spread of invasive species.

"I think one of the important facts about this animal is its reproductive capability," Snow said. "There are not many records of how many eggs a large female snake carries in the wild. This shows they're a really reproductive animal, which aids in their invasiveness."

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