Contractors searching for Burmese pythons in the Florida Everglades found a more than 12-foot-long snake as it was laying a clutch of 39 eggs, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said Friday.
The snake and its eggs were found near a canal in the Everglades Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area, according to the FWC. The python measured in at 12 feet, 4 inches, authorities said.
“This successful removal of so many pythons will greatly benefit the Everglades ecosystem,” officials said in a Facebook post.
The FWC's Python Removal Contractor program pays qualified people $8.10 per hour to find and remove the invasive species from the state.
Contractors can earn as much as $6,000 per year on hourly rates. They get an additional $50 for each captured Burmese python, with a $25 bonus for each foot of the snake above 4 feet.
The state also runs the Python Pickup Program, aimed at encouraging people to remove and report wild Burmese pythons in their areas.
Burmese pythons are among the largest snakes in the world. Native to India, lower China, the Malay Peninsula and some islands of the East Indies, the snakes are semiaquatic and excellent climbers.
They’re known for having a docile nature and are popular as pets, but they also have few competitors for resources, making them an invasive species.