Hunters working to remove invasive reptiles from a wildlife preserve in the Florida Everglades have captured a 5.2-metre Burmese python by tracing the movements of a potential breeding partner.
She is the largest python ever removed from Big Cypress National Preserve- and she was caught because of research and a new approach to finding pythons.
A team of four researchers stood apart from one another, arms outstretched, clutching a giant python, and it takes a wide-angle lens just to capture the length of the beast they found in Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida's Everglades.
The record-breaking python outweighs a female captured in Big Cypress in December 2017 by snake hunter Jason Leon, which measured 17ft 1in and weighed 132lb, according to the Miami Herald.
Male pythons are tagged with radio transmitters, allowing researchers to track the male as it moves toward breeding females.
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Researchers posted a shocking photo of the snake on Facebook and said it set a new record for the Big Cypress National Preserve.
Agencies responsible for managing the Everglades stage regular public python hunts and previous year recorded their 1,000th kill, by a hunter who bagged more than 100. Pythons typically come from Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa.
Big Cypress says their team is not only removing the invasive snakes, but collecting research data, developing new removal tools and learning how the pythons are using the Preserve.
The inaugural Python Challenge was organised in 2013 by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and some 1,600 people had registered for this.