A 16-foot Burmese python was found and killed in the Florida Everglades just after eating its last meal: a 76-pound deer.
Last Thursday, workers from the South Florida Water Management District spotted the 16-foot-long python in Miami-Dade County in the Everglades of South Florida during the removal of non-native plants from the area.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission responded by catching and killing the python with a shotgun in order to prevent the species from spreading elsewhere. Burmese pythons can grow up to eight feet within a year, but this one, measuring double the typical length, was one of the largest ever found in South Florida, the Associated Press reported.
According to an autopsy, the female deer was found fully intact inside the python's stomach and was consumed after it had already died. The snake, also a female, weighed 215.4 pounds and had a girth measuring 44.1 inches with the deer in its belly.
This is clearly an extreme event, Skip Snow, who conducted the autopsy, told The AP. It shows you they can eat huge things.
Snow, a python specialist at Everglades National Park, told the Sun-Sentinel that though the deer was consumed after it was dead, the python was most likely the culprit.
The python, an ambush predator, had staked out a known deer trail. When the deer walked by, the snake presumably seized the animal in its sharp, backward-pointing teeth, crushed the deer under its weight and coiled around it, killing the deer before consuming it, Snow told the Sun-Sentinel.
According to the South Florida Water Management District, officials have removed 1,360 Burmese pythons from the Everglades, with six removed during a one week period in March.