Snake's 'boyfriend’ leads hunters to largest python in Florida Everglades

A 17-foot-long female python was pulled from Florida's Everglades last week, and was caught after researchers followed the signals of male pythons equipped with radio transmitters, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Snake hunters have captured what they say is the largest python ever found in the swamps of the Florida Everglades: a pregnant female more than 17ft (5.2m) long and weighing 140lb, or 63.5kg.

She was captured after officials said pythons had to be rounded-up to stop their numbers getting out of control.

In addition to removing pythons from Big Cypress, researchers learn how the snakes use the area.

The record-breaking female python the team found contained 73 developing eggs, the preserve reports.

Burmese pythons caught in Florida are often six to 10 feet long, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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It is said to be the largest snake that has been caught since the program started.

Other efforts to remove pythons have proved less successful.

The state also encourages the public to share the locations of python sightings to help better track the snakes' whereabouts.

The pythons, which can grow to more than 20 feet in their native habitat in Southeast Asia, are one of the most problematic invaders of Florida's sprawling Everglades wetlands. Burmese pythons were introduced to Florida through escaped or released pets, and now they are a presence in the Everglades, feeding on native wildlife.

Populations of raccoons, opossums and bobcats have fallen by between 88% and 99% as the python population has exploded, studies have shown, while several species of rabbits and foxes have all but disappeared.

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