A giant Burmese python snake in Florida has been discovered after digesting an adult deer in Florida. The 15.6- foot beast was discovered in western Dade County by contractors working for the South Florida Water Management District.
The discovery was actually record-breaking: Not only was the snake one of the largest ever spotted in the South Florida wild, but its prey was also amongs the largest ever found devoured by the species. The female deer that the snake was dining on weighed in at 76 pounds. It was killed with a shotgun last week.
Burmese snakes have been breeding in the Everglades over the past several years after pet owners released them because they had grown too large or escaped from enclosures during Hurricane Andrew.
The giant snakes eat mainly smaller animals and birds, but larger ones consume alligators 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.”
The python, an ambush predator, had staked out a known deer trail, he said. When the animal walked by, the snake presumably seized the animal in its sharp, backward-pointing teeth, crushed it under its weight and coiled around it, killing the the animal before consuming it, Skip Snow said. Snow is a biologist at Everglades National Park.