Wildlife

18-foot python captured in Florida Everglades

 
 
Bobby Hill, a snake control agent for the South Florida Water Management District, with an 18-foot Burmese python he killed on Tuesday about five miles north of Tamiami Trail in the Everglades.
Bobby Hill, a snake control agent for the South Florida Water Management District, with an 18-foot Burmese python he killed on Tuesday about five miles north of Tamiami Trail in the Everglades.
South Florida Water Management District

cmorgan@MiamiHerald.com

The Florida Everglades has produced yet another monster Burmese python — the second 18-footer captured in the last year.

Bobby Hill, a python control agent for the South Florida Water Management District, bagged the giant female around noon Tuesday on the L-28 levee about five miles north of Tamiami Trail.

District spokesman Randy Smith said the carcass would be shipped to the University of Florida where biologists working to stop the spread of the invasive species will examine the remains and verify its length and weight.

“It looks to be about 18 feet,’’ said Smith. “It could very well be a state record.’’

The water district’s levees have produced some of the largest snakes captured in South Florida. The cold-blooded reptiles commonly crawl atop the rock embankments to warm their bodies in the sun, particularly on chilly days.

Last May, a snake collector named Jason Leon captured what currently ranks as the largest Burmese python found in the wilds of Florida. He spotted it at night along a canal in southeast Miami-Dade and had to slice off its head to finally subdue the powerful creature. The Florida Fish and Wild Conservation Commission verified its total length at 18 feet, 8 inches. The snake, a female, weighed in at 128 pounds.

The previous record, in 2012, was a 17-foot, 7-inch female captured by scientists in Everglades National Park. That snake, pregnant with 87 eggs, weighed just over 164 pounds.

In their native habitat, Burmese pythons are believed to reach 20 feet or more. Biologists consider the exotic predators a major threat to native wildlife. Necropsies have shown that they eat just about everything that lives in the Everglades, from birds to alligators, and at least one study in 2012 suggests the boom in pythons has decimated the small mammal population in the park.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

  • Miami Herald town hall focuses on protecting children

    A month after it began publishing the Innocents Lost series of investigative articles, the Miami Herald on Thursday is hosting a town hall meeting to discuss Florida’s failure to protect kids — and what might be done about it.

  • Strip club ‘armed guard’ recovering after head-bashing with concrete stand

    An argument at a South Miami-Dade strip club turned violent — landing the club bouncer in the hospital and sparking a search for the unknown assailant.

  • Unexpected revenues help Jackson Health System

    An unexpected bump in Miami-Dade sales tax receipts, and a one-time capital reimbursement from a prior year’s bond program helped even out a rocky financial month for Jackson Health System, which experiencd lower-than-projected patient admissions and slight increases in labor and other costs in March, according to executives at the public hospital network.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category