18-Foot Python Captured in Florida Everglades

University of Florida wildlife biologists recently removed one of the largest Burmese Pythons ever captured in Florida. Chris Gillette

NBC News JUL 29 2015, 7:50 PM ET

Pythons present a low risk to visitors to the Florida Everglades, according to officials, but you’d probably still want to steer clear of this mammoth Burmese python recently captured by University of Florida researchers.

Caught along a popular wildlife-watching trail in Everglades National Park, the snake was a female measuring 18 feet, 3 inches, and weighing 133 pounds.

According to state wildlife officials, the longest python ever caught in Florida was 18 feet, 8 inches long.

The snake measures more than 18 feet long. It had bird feathers in the gastrointestinal tract. U.S. Geological Survey

Pythons are not native to Florida, where scientists say the snakes are devouring local wildlife. According to researchers, a python that’s 18 feet long is capable of ingesting large prey such as deer or alligators. First introduced as escaped pets,the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there are now tens of thousands of Burmese pythons populating the Everglades.

Burmese pythons were first observed in South Florida’s Everglades National Park in 1979. Since then, they have spread throughout the park. Christopher Gillette
University of Florida wildlife biologist Ed Metzger holds the python. Metzger said it was especially satisfying to have removed such a large snake from the Everglades ecosystem. The snake was euthanized. Christopher Gillette

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