04:25 GMT05 July 2020
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    A group of scientists found and killed a 17-foot Burmese python at the Big Cypress National Preserve in the Florida Everglades last week. The pythons, an invasive species overrunning the Everglades, pose a significant risk to local wildlife.

    In a Facebook post dated April 5, local officials noted that the female python was over 17 feet long, and pregnant with 73 eggs.

    Officials from Florida's Big Cypress National Preserve hold a massive 17-Foot python
    Officials from Florida's Big Cypress National Preserve hold a massive 17-Foot python

    Researchers explained in the post that they were able to track the female by tracking radio transmitters placed on male pythons. Her "boyfriend," as many outlets reported, is what led the hunters to the expectant mother.

    "The team not only removes the invasive snakes, but collects data for research, develop new removal tools, and learn how the pythons are using the Preserve," the post further notes.

    Burmese pythons were brought to Florida in the 1970s as pets — however, some were released into the wild, and have since multiplied to great numbers, threatening the survival of local animals.

    According to a 2012 study by the United States Geological Survey, the region has witnessed a major drop in the population of raccoons, opossums and bobcats, with several species of rabbits and foxes having nearly disappeared altogether. These mammals have been found in the stomachs of the pythons removed from the area.

    Florida officials have introduced multiple programs attempting to crowdsource the removal of pythons, including the Python Elimination Program, the Python Pickup Program and the Python Challenge

    Burmese Python, pregnant, Florida, eggs, Florida
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