A Burmese python in southwest Florida took down and ate a white-tailed deer that weighed more than the snake itself.
The attack was documented by The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, which reported its findings this month in Herpetological Review.
The attack happened in April 2015 in Collier-Seminole State Park in Collier County. The group came across the python which was distended by a large food bulge. They captured the snake and moved it to an open area, where the snake regurgitated the dead deer.
The group posted several images of the snake and deer encounter — several of which are very graphic and likely turn off some readers.
The incident is disturbing for wildlife managers and conservationists in Florida, as it highlights another danger of the invasive Burmese pythons. If pythons are eating deer, they could affect the number of the prey animals. The native Florida panther relies on the deer as a food source.
“This observation is another important piece of evidence for the negative impact invasive Burmese pythons are having on native wildlife across the Greater Everglades Ecosystem” said Ian Bartoszek, Conservancy of Southwest Florida wildlife biologist in a post on Medium .
“Imagine the potential consequences to the state and federally protected Florida panther if Burmese pythons adversely affect the number of white-tailed deer, a panther’s primary prey.”
The animals were weighed with the deer coming in at 35 pounds and the python 31.5. That means the python tried (and may have successfully) eaten an animal bigger than itself. The python was 11-feet long.
Burmese pythons came to South Florida in the 1970s and have been spreading and making an impact.
Florida agencies have aggressive programs that hunt the pythons and try to control the population and protect the local environment and Everglades.
WARNING: Graphic images in the link below.
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida documented a Burmese python eating a white-tailed deer that weighed more than the python itself.
— Conservancy of SW FL (@ConservancySWFL) March 1, 2018
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