MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) -- A Burmese python, captured in the Florida Everglades sets a new record for the largest python ever removed from Big Cypress National Preserve.
Scientists caught the female python on April 5. She was more than 17 feet long, weighed 140 pounds and contained 73 developing eggs.
The snake is the largest python ever removed from Big Cypress National Preserve, a 729,000-acre expanse of swampland west of Miami in South Florida, according to a statement Friday on the preserve's Facebook page.
The picture with the Facebook post tells it all.
It shows a team of four researchers, standing apart from one another, holding up the gigantic reptile.
While pythons of all sizes have been found in the Everglades, most of them are between 6 and 10 feet long. The largest one was over 18 feet long and weighed more than 100 pounds, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Still, this latest find is impressive. Big Cypress' rangers credit research and new tracking technology with making it possible.
"Using male pythons with radio transmitters allows the team to track the male to locate breeding females," their statement says. "The team not only removes the invasive snakes, but collects data for research, develops new removal tools and learns how the pythons are using the Preserve. The team tracked one of the sentinel males with the transmitter and found this massive female nearby."
The Burmese python is native to Southeast Asia, but in recent decades the big snakes have become a slithering menace in Florida. The Everglades is a vast area with a tropical climate perfect for pythons to hide and thrive.
State wildlife officials estimate there are as many as 100,000 pythons living in the Everglades and they pose significant threats to native wildlife.
To control their population, Florida continues to hold competitions encouraging hunters to remove as many of them as possible.
The pythons began turning up in the Everglades in the 1980s, most likely abandoned by pet owners when the snakes got too big to handle. Some pet pythons also may have escaped from a breeding facility destroyed during Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
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