Scientists at the Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida announced Friday that they managed to catch a 17-foot-long female Burmese python that weighed in at an impressive 140 pounds and contained 73 developing eggs.
According to a statement from the preserve, the 17-foot-long python was the largest ever removed from Big Cypress National Preserve. A photo posted by the agency showed four men holding the massive cold-blooded animal.
Researchers say they were able to track down the enormous reptile thanks to a new tracking technology.
"Using male pythons with radio transmitters allows the team to track the male to locate breeding females," researchers wrote in their post. "The team not only removes the invasive snakes, but collects data for research, develop new removal tools, and learn how the pythons are using the Preserve."
"The team tracked one of the sentinel males with the transmitter and found this massive female nearby," the team added.
Burmese pythons are native to Southeast Asia, but, they've become a problem in Florida after people began importing the snakes as pets. Wildlife officials say owners later abandon their snakes once they get too big to handle. The Everglades are a perfect habitat for the pythons where they can hide and thrive. State wildlife officials estimate that there could be as many as 100,000 pythons living in the swamps outside Miami.
"All of the python work at Big Cypress is focused on controlling this invasive species, which poses significant threats to native wildlife," researchers added.
Florida is working to control their python population because they consider the snake an invasive species. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has held several competitions for hunters to harvest the snakes, including the annual Python Challenge, which began in 2013.
Photo: Big Cypress National Preserve