Python removal agents working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have caught the largest Burmese python yet to be captured in Florida.
The 18-foot, 9-inch long snake was captured on October 2nd by Ryan Ausburn and Kevin Pavlidis along the L-28 Tieback Canal about 35 miles west of Miami. The previous record for the longest python caught was just one inch shorter.
"Today's record breaking capture shows that our increased efforts are working to get harmful pythons out of the precious Everglades ecosystem,” said South Florida Water Management District Governing Board Member Ron Bergeron in an email.
"Together with our partners and the public's help, we can restore the Everglades and combat the harmful pythons that hurt Florida’s native wildlife."
Burmese pythons became established in Florida as a result of escaped or released pets. Over the last 15 years, populations of the snake have skyrocketed to the top of Florida's food chain; with no natural predators, the species has decimated indigenous populations of plants and animals.
Catchers like Ausburn and Pavlidis can make up to $150 for every snake they capture and euthanize.
The public can also help control nonnative invasive wildlife by reporting sightings to the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-IveGot1 (888-483-4681), online at IveGot1.org or by using the free smartphone app IVEGOT1. If possible, take a picture and note the exact location of the sighting.
Python Action Team and Python Elimination Program members respond to reports of large constrictors and other priority species to remove these harmful invaders from the wild.