CHECK IT OUT: Record-Breaking Burmese Python Weighing 215 Pounds Caught in Florida

by Bryan Fyalkowski

A team of biologists in Florida found a 17.7-foot, 215-pound Burmese python in Naples, Florida. The enormous snake weighs in as the heaviest ever recorded, according to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. The female also had 122 developing eggs, which was also a record.

Wildlife biologist and python project manager (yes, that is a real title) Ian Bartoszek is part of a team that finds, captures and puts down the invasive species. Scientists say Burmese pythons have not been known to harm humans, but they absolutely wreck the ecosystem.

“They’re not interested in us, they’re interested in our native wildlife,” he said. “This is the wildlife issue of our time for Southwest Florida.”

They are native to Southeast Asia, but have inadvertently been introduced in the Florida Everglades and have been thriving. Burmese pythons have been intentionally or accidentally released by pet owners or breeding facilities over the years.

Bartoszek has been with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida for 20 years. But over the past 10 specifically, he and his team have conducted studies that have helped them remove more than 1,000 snakes – weighing over 26,000 pounds – in less than 100 square miles.

There were hoof core remains of a white-tailed deer found inside the 17.7 foot, 215-pounder. In Bartoszek’s research, he and his team have documented 24 species of mammal, 47 species of bird and two reptile species consumed by Burmese pythons.

“That is the definition of a generalist apex predator,” he said.

Enter Florida’s Python Challenge

Previously, Florida governor Ron DeSantis has announced that the week-long 2022 Python Challenge will begin on August 5. It is a contest where people can register, complete an online training course and then go out and try to capture pythons around the state.

Prizes include $2,500 for most captured and $1,500 for longest python. In 2021, the first-prize winner nabbed 223 total, while a 15-footer was the biggest one.

Once authorities find Burmese pythons, authorities must humanely kill or euthanize them. Despite their terrorization of the Everglades, Bartoszek is still in awe of them – especially the record-breaking 17.7 foot, 215-pounder.

“She really was a next-level snake,” he said. “We have a lot of respect for these animals.”