OCHOPEE, Fla. -- An 18-foot python is now the second largest python ever caught in the wild in Florida.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Python Action Team members Cynthia Downer and Jonathan Lopez captured the adult female python weighing in at 98 pounds, 10 ounces, on September 22 at Big Cypress National Preserve.
It also happens to be the largest snake ever captured by the PAT team.
"Capturing large adult females is critical because it prevents them from potentially adding an average of 30 to 60 hatchlings to the population each time they breed," FWC officials said in a press release.
FWC has now removed 900 Burmese pythons from the wild in Florida.
Burmese pythons became established in Florida as a result of escaped or released pets.
It is illegal to release nonnative species into the wild, and doing so can negatively impact native wildlife and habitat, according to the agency.