For Burmese pythons — one of South Florida's most notorious invasive species — few meals are too big. But new research by scientists suggests the snake might be snacking above its weight class.
While tracking pythons in Collier Seminole State Park in Collier County, a group of wildlife biologists from the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and land managers from the state park stumbled upon an unsettling discovery: An 11-foot Burmese python that had devoured a white-tailed deer fawn weighing more than the snake.
The 2015 finding, which has since been peer-reviewed and is set to be published in the Herpetological Review this month, is believed to be the largest python-to-prey ratio documented to date, with the snake weighing 31.5 pounds and the deer 35 pounds, said Ian Bartoszek, wildlife biologist and science coordinator for the Conservancy.
"It almost did not compute," he said during an announcement of the findings in the Conservancy's snake laboratory Thursday.