Engineers in the Everglades found a near-record-breaking Burmese python during a routine inspection of levees on Tuesday. From tip to tip, it measured more than 18 feet long.
The snake, exactly 18 feet and 2 inches, feel short of the state record by 6 inches, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It is the second 18-foot python to be captured in the past year.
The creature was killed the same day it was captured, then sent to the University of Florida to be measured and studied by scientists who hope to combat the species.
The pythons are one of the most problematic invaders in the Everglades and can grow up to 20 feet in their native habitat. Because they eat indigenous species and their food sources, there are concerns that the snake could disturb the ecosystem.
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The python population in the Everglades has grown to about 150,000, which can usually be found on levees warming in the sun.