Study finds this huge snake chowed down on three deer over the course of a few months.
Invasive pythons and boas are a huge problem in the Florida Everglades that is only getting worse. And a new study just released of a 15-foot Burmese python euthanized there in 2013 is a good example of why Florida officials are so worried.
When the massive female snake was killed on June 3, 2013, bones, teeth, hooves and hair from three different deer were found in the animal. Scientists believe there were one adult doe and two fawns consumed by the snake in a 90-day period.
Most of the remains were found in the snake’s intestines, it was almost done digesting the meals. It’s a concerning find considering large snakes like boas and pythons don’t normally eat that much in such a short time period.
“If a python is capable of eating three deer in three months,” what else are they eating that we don’t know about, Dickinson College associate professor Scott Boback told Live Science.com. “We don’t even know how many of them are out there.
According to Live Science, other studies are showing the invasive snakes have already had negative impacts on populations of other native small mammals like rabbits, bobcats, raccoons and more. But it seems researchers hadn’t known the snakes were capable of consuming much larger mammals like deer so often.
“It just begs the question, ‘How often are they eating these things?’” Boback told Live Science.
The adult doe was estimated by researchers to be a yearling weighing around 99 pounds. The two fawns were estimated to weigh 37 and 29 pounds respectively. Scientists believe the big snakes might lay in wait in the water to ambush deer as they come to drink.
Concerns about massive non-native snakes preying on native animals in Florida are nothing new. Earlier this year some viral footage popped up showing a man freeing a whitetail from a snake’s death grip.
Florida Fish and Wildlife has taken to hosting a “Python Challenge” in recent years to help curb the numbers of the invasive reptiles.