Two huge Burmese pythons were caught and killed recently, one by a homeowner in Missouri’s rural Warren County, and the other by a researcher in Florida’s Shark Valley. Burmese pythons are considered to be a highly invasive species across the American Southeast, especially in Everglades National Park, where the slithery creatures have started to colonize. Experts say the snakes threaten native wildlife species like ground-nesting birds, but it seems that the reptiles also have an appetite for domestic animals as well.
For days, a massive 14-foot python had stalked a community near Jonesburg, until residents took matters into their own hands and dispatched the animal with a shotgun on Tuesday.
“I was terrified,” Pauline Horstdaniel told KTVI. “I got my husband out of bed. He’s out there in his underwear with his gun.”
In the end, it was another resident who killed the animal. Residents had attempted to get help from the sheriff’s office and a local snake expert, but said that it would take too long before the snake could be captured. In the meantime, the massive python was gobbling down small animals, chickens, and even suspected of eating dogs. At least one resident spotted the snake attempting to hunt down their poodle.
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“You only see snakes like this in the movies and at the zoo,” Horstdaniel said.
The dead python measured 14 feet and seven inches, but was overshadowed by a 18-foot, three-inch snake captured earlier this month. That python was caught by a researcher in Everglades National Park along a tram road. According to experts, it may very well be the second largest Burmese python to ever be captured in the state. However, officials say that even bigger pythons can be living deep inside the Everglades.
“While this individual was among the largest of the pythons that have been removed, it was not record-setting,” Katie Corrigan, Everglades public information officer, told the San Antonio Express-News. “We expect to occasionally encounter large pythons in this size range as we continue python removal efforts, though most pythons that we encounter are smaller.”
The python was handed off to the US Geological Survey and National Park Service for some hands on training for interns at those agencies. Corrigan said that the snake was later euthanized.
Image courtesy USGS