OCHOPEE, Fla. - Python hunters in South Florida have snagged a record-breaking catch.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said their Python Action Team recently captured an 18-foot, 4-inch Burmese python in Big Cypress National Preserve. Hunters Cynthia Downer and Jonathan Lopez caught the 98-pound, 10-ounce snake on September 22.
FWC said the female python is the largest snake ever captured by their Python Action Team, and the second-largest python ever caught in the wild in Florida.
The largest python ever caught in Florida was back in 2013. The female python was over 18 feet, 8 inches long and weighed 128 pounds.
"Capturing large adult females is critical because it prevents them from potentially adding an average of 30 to 60 hatchlings to the population each time they breed," FWC said in a statement.
Two days after making the impressive catch, FWC snagged their 900th python.
Environmentalists say the invasive species is responsible for killing deer, alligators and other important wildlife in the area. Their presence is causing lasting damage to the ecosystem.