Gargantuan 176-Pound Python Captured in Florida and Added to the Record Books

Python in Florida
© Mark Kostich from Getty Images Signature and omersukrugoksu from Getty Images Signature/ via

Written by Sharon Parry

Published: May 2, 2024

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Yet another huge Burmese python has been captured in Florida. Local news outlets have shared images of the 176.6-pound snake held up by no fewer than five people! It is pictured stretching its 16.9 feet length across their arms.

The massive snake was caught as part of the Python Action Team Removing Invasive Constrictors (PATRIC) initiative who work with the South Florida Water Management District Python Elimination Program. The successful contractor, Kurt Cox, receives payment according to length. For snakes over eight feet, it is $150. This particular snake was caught in the Everglades’ Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area during March 2024.

It enters the record books as the fourth largest and 22nd longest Burmese python captured in the state.

Why Do Burmese Pythons Need to Be Removed?

Burmese pythons did not originally live in the Everglades or indeed anywhere in the U.S., they are an invasive species. A native species of Southeast Asia, they were brought to America as part of the exotic pet trade and Miami was central to this. Many irresponsible owners soon decided that they did not want the snakes once they started to grow. They released them into the Everglades to fend for themselves and some thrived. However, with only a few individuals in the area, finding a mate was not easy. Experts believe that this all changed when Hurricane Andrew devasted parts of Florida in August 1992. A python breeding facility was damaged and countless snakes fled to the surrounding swamps. Soon, a breeding population was established and numbers soared.

As an invasive species, they present a threat to wildlife. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, they have practically wiped out the local populations of marsh rabbits, foxes, and cottontail rabbits. They have also seriously impacted the numbers of raccoons, opossums, and bobcats. To protect the native populations from further decline, the snakes need to be controlled.

Florida’s Invasive Giant Toads

Unfortunately, Burmese pythons are not the only invasive species found in Florida. The cane toad is also causing problems. It is also called the giant toad or bufo toad. Their scientific name is Rhinella marina and they can grow to between six and nine inches in length. You may spot them in rural, suburban, and even urban areas. This native species of the Amazon basin in South America was deliberately introduced to Florida in the 1930s and 1940s to control pests in sugar cane. They soon escaped and others were released by importers. Now, these unwelcome guests pose a risk to native animals, pets, and people. Secretions from their skin contains a toxin that can kill any animal that bites them and irritate human skin and eyes.

Green Iguanas in Florida’s Parks and Toilets

Close up of a large green iguana (Latin name Iguana iguana) defending its territory in the south Florida keys (Key West). Iguanas are not native to Florida and are considered an invasive species.

An increasingly common sight on Florida’s sidewalks – the green iguana.

©David A Litman/

Green iguanas (Iguana iguana) are another invasive species causing the Florida authorities a headache. They are large lizards but are not always green! Some are brown or almost black. Even though they were not spotted living wild in the state until the 1960s, they have multiplied at such a rate that they are now an environmental hazard. There are reports of green iguanas tearing up sidewalks, puncturing sea walls, and turning up in people’s toilet bowls having crawled through sewers! There is also some evidence that they are eating endangered tree snails and nickerbean – a plant crucial for the survival of the endangered Miami Blue butterfly. Landowners are being encouraged to remove them humanely from their properties.

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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