A 17-foot long Burmese python recovered in Everglades National Park in Florida is the largest on record and was found carrying 87 eggs.
Researchers at the Florida Natural History Museum, located at the University of Florida, discovered the Burmese python after it was captured in the Everglades in April, Reuters reported.
"This thing is monstrous, it's about a foot wide," said Florida Museum herpetology collection manager Kenneth Krysko in a statement. "It means these snakes are surviving a long time in the wild, there's nothing stopping them and the native wildlife are in trouble."
The researchers came upon the large snake as part of a study on the impact pythons have on native species in the Everglades, according to Reuters.
Burmese pythons do not have any natural predators in the state, although they are known to feast on birds, deer, bobcats and alligators. Their proliferation in Florida is attributed to python owners dumping the snakes when they grew too large to control.
"They were here 25 years ago, but in very low numbers and it was difficult to find one because of their cryptic behavior," Krysko said. "Now, you can go out to the Everglades nearly any day of the week and find a Burmese python. We've found 14 in a single day."
The massive python was carrying 87 eggs when it was discovered - a Florida record.
Krysko said the record Florida python was "in excellent health" and had feathers in its stomach.
"A 17.5-foot snake could eat anything it wants," Krysko said. "By learning what this animal has been eating and its reproductive status, it will hopefully give us insight into how to potentially manage other wild Burmese pythons in the future. It also highlights the actual problem, which is invasive species."
After a scientific investigation into the record Florida python is complete, the snake will be on display at the museum for five years and then returned to the Everglades for an exhibition, the museum said.
The discovery of the huge snake is an important find for learning how to prevent the proliferation of the Burmese pythons in Florida, according to Everglades wildlife biologist Skip Snow.
"I think one of the important facts about this animal is its reproductive capability," he said. "There are not many records of how many eggs a large female snake carries in the wild. This shows they're a really reproductive animal, which aids in their invasiveness."