Wildlife Conservation photo

So just how big do you think Florida’s pythons can get, and what kind of growth and reproductive potential does southern Florida offer? Apparently the answers to question one is “damn big” and the answer to question two is “plenty.” Because if the recent discovery of a monstrous, record-breaking 17-foot long Burmese python laden with a whopping 87 eggs is any indication, “damn big” and “plenty” perfectly sums up Florida’s burgeoning serpent problem.

From this story in the Miami Herald:

Researchers examining a record-length Burmese python captured in Everglades National Park have uncovered an equally unsettling record hidden in its carcass. The 17-foot, 7-inch snake, the largest ever caught in the wild in Florida, also was laden with 87 eggs. The discovery, announced Monday by the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, is the latest confirmation that the giant exotic constrictors have rebounded since a brutal freeze two years ago that experts estimated may have killed off more than half of the population at the time.

According to the story, the giant female was first captured on March 6, when a GPS-tagged male python led researchers to her lair. Researchers re-captured the snake and euthanized it before it could lay any of the eggs. The snake was found to be in excellent health, which does not bode well for Florida’s native wildlife.

From the story: This thing is monstrous — it’s about a foot wide,” said Kenneth Krysko, manager of the museum’s herpetology collection, in a release. “It means these snakes are surviving a long time in the wild, there’s nothing stopping them and the native wildlife are in trouble.”

After scientists have finished their necropsy, the snake will be mounted and displayed at the University of Florida’s natural science museum. So, how long do you think it’ll be before you find giant invasive snakes where you live?