Florida snake hunters have snared what they believe is the biggest ever python found in the Everglades – and she was carrying a staggering 73 eggs.
Burmese pythons pose a "significant threat" to the Everglades eco-system and experts at the Big Cypress National Preserve have concentrated efforts on finding them.
At more than 17ft and weighing in at 63 kilograms, this captured snake is longer than the height of a typical double decker bus.
The preserve announcement the capture with a post on its Facebook page, which has since been shared more than 8,000 times.
The snake's position was given away after male snake - fitted with a radio transmitter to monitor it's movements - led the team to her.
Once the snakes are caught, experts try to learn how the pythons are using the park and develop new ways of catching them.
“She is the largest python ever removed from Big Cypress National Preserve and she was caught because of research and a new approach to finding pythons," the park wrote on Facebook
“The team tracked one of the sentinel males with the transmitter and found this massive female nearby.
“All of the python work at Big Cypress is focused on controlling this invasive species, which poses significant threats to native wildlife.”
Burmese pythons spread in Florida as a result of escaped or released pets.
It is illegal to release non-indigenous pets into the wild and the FWC has an amnesty program that allows owners to surrender nay such pets without penalty.
Along with State, Federal, Tribal, and local partners, Everglades National Park and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have spent millions of dollars testing ways to remove pythons.
While this research has improved knowledge of the python population, eliminating pythons using current technology is impossible, the National Park Service claims.
Last year, the number of people allowed to help in a so-called Python Removal Authorized Agent Program tripled from 40 to 120.
Everglades National Park Superintendent Pedro Ramos said back then: "While hunting remains prohibited by law in Everglades National Park, we believe the expansion of the program to include allowing FWC contractors to remove pythons in the park will be welcomed by concerned citizens that want to play a role in helping with this significant problem."