One of the biggest snakes ever caught in Florida!



by LORENZO CIOTTI

One of the biggest snakes ever caught in Florida!

One of the biggest snakes ever caught in Florida. It is a specimen of a Burmese python of almost six meters, captured with bare hands.
The snake was taken to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, an environmental organization that studies Burmese pythons, where it was found to weigh over 50 kilograms.

Center biologist Ian Easterling explained: 'We had a feeling these snakes could be that big and now we have proof." 22-year-old Jake Waleri posted a video of a hunter grabbing the head of a 5.79-metre Burmese python, the largest ever seen in the state before, and pinning it with the help of another man.

The snake was found 70 kilometers west of Miami in Big Cypress National Preserve, in an effort to curb the advance of these invasive snakes.
The Burmese python arrived in the USA from Southeast Asia at the end of the last century.

The Everglades is a perfect environment to reproduce and thrive. Burmese pythons are considered an invasive species, not native to Florida where, however, they are reproducing with great ease. A number of efforts have been made over the past decade to eliminate Burmese python populations.

To narrow down python hunting requires understanding the species' preferred habitat. Burmese pythons have been reported to select drier habitats with broadleaf vegetation, such as cypress and coniferous forests. Although aquatic and marshy environments would be an excellent source of prey, pythons seem to favor environments that allow them to camouflage and hide.

Additionally, Burmese pythons in Florida have been found to prefer elevated habitats, as this provides optimal conditions for nesting. In addition to elevated habitats, edge habitats are common locations for Burmese pythons to be found for thermoregulation, nesting, and hunting.

One of the most influential eradication movements was the 2013 Python Challenge, a month-long contest in which a total of 68 pythons were captured and eliminated. The contest offered incentives such as prizes for the most pythons caught.

The purpose of the challenge was to raise awareness of invasive species, increase public participation and agency cooperation, and remove as many pythons from the Everglades as possible. A 2017 study introduced a new method for identifying the presence of Burmese pythons in South Florida; this method involves mosquito blood screening.

Since the introduction of the Burmese python to Florida, mosquito communities use pythons as hosts even though they have only recently been introduced. The research involved screening the blood of native mosquitoes to look for the presence of python DNA.

In this way, the presence or absence of pythons in the area can be determined while allowing them to be monitored throughout Florida. The Burmese pythons that have settled in Florida have also faced some physiological changes.

Unlike their native South Asian counterparts which spend long periods of time fasting due to seasonal variation in prey availability, Florida pythons feed year-round thanks to the constant availability of food. They are also vulnerable to cold stress, with winter frosts leading to mortality rates of up to 90%. Genomic data suggest that natural selection on these po