BROWARD COUNTY (CBSMiami) – A near record-breaking Burmese Python has been eliminated in the Florida Everglades.
The invasive snake was 16-feet long and weighed 165 pounds.
“Alligator” Ron Bergeron, an Everglades conservationist and South Florida Water Management District Board member, helped capture the giant snake Saturday, and also eliminated an even larger threat by removing a nest of about 40-50 eggs in various stages of hatching.
Two campers about four miles south of Alligator Alley in Broward County first spotted the nesting female under a home.
Bergeron and friends were able to capture it and remove it.
The biggest Burmese python on record captured in the Everglades was 17-feet long, weighed 140 pounds and was carrying 73 eggs. It was removed from the Big Cypress National Preserve on April 5, 2019.
Burmese pythons were first discovered in the Everglades nearly two decades ago. It’s believe they became established in Florida as a result of escaped or released pets and they are causing serious harm to the fragile Everglades ecosystem by eating native wildlife such as possum, rabbits, deer, bobcats, alligators, and other indigenous wildlife.
State wildlife officials estimate there are as many as 100,000 pythons living in the Everglades.
“The Burmese Python poses a significant threat to the Florida Everglades by disrupting the natural food chain,” said Bergeron. “With good fortune, we were able to find a large female, and remove her and an entire nest of up to 50 baby snakes which would have continued killing off our precious habitat.” Bergeron said approximately one-third of the new hatchlings would have likely lived to become adults.
WATCH: 17-foot python captured with help from Everglades conservationist Ron Bergerson
The Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) both have active eradication programs in place, but Bergeron said Governor Ron DeSantis wants to see those efforts expanded.
“I want to thank the Governor for making the eradication of the Burmese Python a top priority,” said Bergeron. “He has asked both state agencies to work with our federal partners (Everglades National Park) to find ways to increase access to remote areas so we can engage more qualified personnel to remove this invasive snake.”
The FWC Python Action Team removed the program’s 500th python from the wild recently. Team members captured the snake on June 25 at the Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area. It was a 9′ 10″ long female and weighed more than 20 pounds.