(DAILY MAIL) A 16-foot-long Burmese python - one of the largest ever found in South Florida - was captured and killed by workers after it was discovered with an a whole adult deer in its stomach.
Skip Snow, a python specialist who conducted the autopsy at Everglades National Park, said the animal had a girth of 44 inches with the nearly 25-pount deer inside its stomach.
'This is clearly an extreme event,' he told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. 'It shows you they can eat huge things.'
The python - an ambush predator - would have staked out a known deer trail, seized the animal in its sharp teeth, crushed it by coiling around it and then eaten the corpse, he said.
It is the first time a snake has been caught so soon after eating a deer, allowing biologists to see just how large their prey can be.
Scott Hardin, exotic species coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, said the capture of the reptile was crucial to help prevent the spread of pythons further north.
'It’s pretty clearly one of the biggest snakes we’ve seen,' he said. 'We haven’t gotten anything longer than 16ft in the wild in Florida.'
The snake was discovered by workers from South Florida Water Management District, who were removing non-native plants from a tree island.
Researchers said pythons often fast for months and then eat enormous meals, and are able to consume up to 50 per cent of their own bodyweight.
The slippery predators have in recent years been documented eating cockatoos, frogs and even other snakes.
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