43 Burmese pythons weighing 2,000 pounds found in South Florida

By Marilyn Malara  |  March 19, 2016 at 2:58 PM
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COLLIER COUNTY, Fla., March 19 (UPI) -- More than 40 Burmese pythons collectively weighing about 2,000 pounds have been pulled from South Florida as part of a single study in the last 90 days, researchers said.

Biologists from the Conservacy of Southwest Florida announced this week they have picked up 43 snakes weighing a total of one ton from Collier County alone, located in southwest Florida.

One of the snakes broke a statewide record, coming in at 16 feet long and weighing 140 pounds.

"It's just kind of jaw-dropping," biologist Ian Bartoszek, who is working with the Conservacy, told the Miami Herald.

From the study, researchers learned many of the snakes like to hide in burrows made by other animals and usually mate in groups instead of pairs.

Pythons are an invasive species in Florida's ecological landscape. Many being released pets or escapees from breeding facilities, they have become one of the state's top natural predators.

In response to the staggering python population in South Florida -- especially in and around Everglades National Park -- the state has enacted several measures in an attempt to control it.

One of the measures includes an annual python challenge, which awards cash prizes to those who capture the most pythons during the competition. Awards are given to winners in other categories including "Longest Python" as well.

This year's challenge took place last month and brought in a total of 106 captured snakes. The longest python, captured by a team of hunters, also measured in at 15 feet long.

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