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Florida

A record 111 eggs were found in a South Florida python nest, FWC says

The 13-foot-9-inch female, who laid 111 eggs, was captured by FWC's python behavior team contractor Brandon Reyet, state officials said.

The 13-foot-9-inch female, who laid 111 eggs, was captured by FWC’s python behavior team contractor Brandon Reyet, state officials said.

youtube video screenshot

Another record has been set by the army of Burmese pythons invading South Florida and this one is more startling than excessive length or weight.

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A python captured July 7 in the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area was hovering over 111 eggs, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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That’s a state record for nest size and well above the 50-to-100-egg average for the species.

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Experts say the average number of eggs in a python is between 50 and 100. There were 111 eggs in this nest.
Experts say the average number of eggs in a python is between 50 and 100. There were 111 eggs in this nest. youtube screenshot

Brandon Rahe, a contractor with the FWC’s Python Action Team, needed a boat to reach the nest, which was well hidden in a hallow of dead grass and weeds.

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Video shared on YouTube shows the mother was nowhere to be seen — until Rahe realized she was coiled nearby and poised to strike.

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It was when the 13-foot, 9-inch snake lunged to bite that he got a grip on her head and pulled the snake from the nest.

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Multiple egg “squirted out” during the capture, the video shows.

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“She’s literally, like, still laying,” Rahe says in the video.

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The final count of 111 eggs included intact eggs and shells that appeared to have been crushed, officials said.

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In most cases, captured pythons are euthanized in Florida, but Rahe noted this female was being turned in alive to FWC for use in a telemetry program.

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“She’s going to become a scout snake,” he says in the video.

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“They’re going to put a GPS tracker in her and they are going to re-release her out into the wild, which sounds a little crazy. But that leads us to other snakes and tells us a lot about their habits and how they move around.”

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The egg discovery was revealed the same day the Conservancy for Southwest Florida reported a 19-foot python found July 10 in Big Cypress National Preserve counted as a state record and possibly a world record for length.

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Burmese pythons are native to “India, lower China, the Malay Peninsula and some islands of the East Indies,” according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The species was brought to the U.S. as part of the pet trade and made its way into the wild “by way of an intentional or accidental release,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports.

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Florida Python Challenge

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Registration is ongoing for the 2023 Florida Python Challenge at flpythonchallenge.org. The event is a python removal competition that offers cash prizes for participants. It runs from 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 4 to 5 p.m. on Aug. 13.

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Burmese pythons are not a protected species in Florida and can be “captured and humanely killed year-round and without a permit or hunting license on 32 commission-managed lands in south Florida.”

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“More than 16,000 Burmese pythons have been removed since 2000,” FWC reports. “They are found primarily in and around the Everglades ecosystem in south Florida where they prey on birds, mammals and other reptiles.”

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Mark Price has been a reporter for the Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering schools, crime, immigration, LGBTQ issues, homelessness, nonprofits and more. He graduated from the University of Memphis with a major in journalism and art history and a minor in geology.

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article277294133.html A record 111 eggs were found in a South Florida python nest, FWC says

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