Florida team hauls in 18-foot, 215-pound Burmese python, a record for the state - FaunaClassifieds
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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 06-25-2022, 03:18 PM   #1
Socratic Monologue
Florida team hauls in 18-foot, 215-pound Burmese python, a record for the state

I first caught this report on 'As It Happens', a CBC program (June 23 show) where they interviewed one of the biologists who gave a pretty fun account of how they captured it. Here's a print report:


NAPLES, Fla. — A team of biologists recently hauled in the heaviest Burmese python ever captured in Florida, officials said.

The female python weighed in at 215 pounds (98 kilograms), was nearly 18 feet long (5 meters) and had 122 developing eggs, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida said in a news release.

The team used radio transmitters transplanted in male “scout" snakes to study python movements, breeding behaviors and habitat use, said Ian Bartoszek, wildlife biologist and environmental science project manager for the conservancy's program.

“How do you find the needle in the haystack? You could use a magnet, and in a similar way our male scout snakes are attracted to the biggest females around,” Bartoszek said.

The team used a scout snake named Dionysus — or Dion for short — in an area of the western Everglades.

“We knew he was there for a reason, and the team found him with the largest female we have seen to date.”

Biologist Ian Easterling and intern Kyle Findley helped capture the female snake and haul it through the woods to the field truck.

A necropsy also found hoof cores in the snake's digest system, meaning that an adult white-tailed deer was its last meal.

National Geographic documented the discovery, highlighting the continued impact of the invasive pythons, which are known for rapid reproduction and depletion of surrounding native wildlife.

Bartoszek said removal of female pythons plays a critical role in disrupting the breeding cycle.

“This is the wildlife issue of our time for southern Florida," he said.

Since the conservancy’s python program began in 2013, they've removed over 1,000 pythons from approximately 100 square miles (25,900 hectares) in southwest Florida.

Over that stretch, necropsies have found dozens of white-tailed deer inside Burmese pythons. Data researchers at the University of Florida have documented 24 species of mammals, 47 species of birds and 2 reptile species from pythons' stomachs.

Prior to the recent discovery, the largest female removed through the conservancy’s program weighed 185 pounds (84 kilograms) and was the heaviest python captured at the time in Florida, officials said.

The state’s python removal program runs for two weeks in August. Participants compete for prizes, including $2,500 for capturing the most pythons.

Last year's challenge involved more than 600 people from 25 states.
Old 06-28-2022, 11:40 AM   #2
If they're so concerned of the python population, why not take the ones out that they capture instead of implanting transmitters and releasing them again ?

Because someones benefitting from the pythons in Florida ... the people employed to do these 'studies'

What else do you need to know about Burmese in Florida ?? They eat other animals , lay eggs and don't belong there.

Old 06-28-2022, 12:08 PM   #3
Socratic Monologue
Originally Posted by JimM View Post
If they're so concerned of the python population, why not take the ones out that they capture instead of implanting transmitters and releasing them again ?
My understanding is that they chip (usually) males, which lead the researchers/collectors to aggregations of snakes, often females, to be removed. Researchers also track individuals to gain more knowledge on how the snakes use the environment, information that will lead to more productive control strategies than random removals.

For example, from a UFL info sheet:

"University of Florida researchers are using radiotelemetry to determine how pythons are using the habitat and the extent and timing of their movements. This method is also used to find groups of pythons during the breeding season (called “breeding aggregations”). Since December 2005, 17 adult pythons have been captured and surgically implanted with very high frequency (VHF) radio transmitters in ENP and on lands owned by SFWMD. Pythons are tracked daily for a few days after release, and then tracked by plane once a week. To reduce observer influence on python behavior, researchers locate snakes primarily by triangulation (going to three separate locations, marking each point in a global positioning system (GPS), and taking a compass bearing on the signal of the transmitter). Snakes are tracked on the ground during the breeding season to make sure they are healthy and to locate breeding aggregations.
“Judas Snakes”
“Judas snakes” are telemetered pythons that lead researchers to other pythons, which are then captured and euthanized. In the 2006 breeding season, three snakes (one female and two males) were found in association with 15 “new” pythons, and in 2007, two male pythons led to 10 additional snakes. Of the 25 snakes discovered by this method in two years, 19 were captured and removed, and the other six escaped before capture was possible. Following a telemetered female also led to the discovery of the first nest, which confirmed the existence of a breeding population in ENP."

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