(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) — Engineers on a routine levee inspection in the Florida everglades happened to stumble upon one of the largest Burmese Pythons ever found in the area.
Measuring in at 18.2 feet, the python fell just six inches short of the record set for the biggest ever found in the state, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The snake was shot and killed and its body taken to the University of Florida for further scientific study.
Burmese Pythons are considered a problematic invader in the wetlands where it feasts on indigenous species and could potentially threaten the ecosystem.
The species population has exploded in the past two decades in the Florida wetlands, where their numbers continue to grow due to an absence of natural predators.
They can grow upward of 20 feet in their native habitat in Southeast Asia.
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