Ophidiophobia — that’s the technical term for a fear of snakes. And if you’ve got it, you may just want to turn away now.
As Fox News reports, officials in Florida have now captured one of the largest Burmese pythons ever discovered in the state.
“An 18-foot-2-inches long python is shot and killed in Miami. The man who shot and killed the python says he thinks it’s the largest one ever captured in Florida.” (Via WTSP)
That man is a python control agent — yes, that is a real job in Florida — for the South Florida Water Management District. He reportedly spotted the female snake on top of a levy before killing it around noon on Tuesday. (Via WPLG)
But it appears his estimate of the largest python ever in the state was just a bit off. Though a monster in its own right, this particular snake came in at 18 feet and 2 inches long.
That’s 6 inches shorter than the current state-record holder, which was killed in May of last year. It was a whopping 18 feet and 8 inches long and reportedly weighed 128 pounds. (Via NBC)
As LiveScience reports, Burmese pythons are considered an invasive species in the state, and they’re not exactly picky eaters.
They quote a spokesman for the South Florida Water Management District saying: “You’d be hard pressed to find a rabbit or squirrel down there in the Everglades now. These snakes eat alligators — or they try to. They don’t have any enemies and they eat anything they can get their teeth on." (Via LiveScience)
It’s become so bad that the state has held Burmese python hunts, with cash rewards, in the past. According to the Wildlife Foundation of Florida in 2013, 68 snakes were killed by nearly 1,600 hunters from 38 states.
They can prove deadly to humans as well. In August 2013, a 100-pound python in Canada escaped its enclosure, slithered through a ventilation system and strangled two young boys. (Via CNN)
The carcass of the snake found Tuesday was reportedly sent to the University of Florida where it will undergo an autopsy. The population of pythons in the Florida Everglades is reportedly around 150,000.