Trapper, wildlife officer hit python jackpot in Big Cypress

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – A python contractor and a Florida wildlife officer hit the motherlode in Big Cypress National Preserve Monday night, finding two female Burmese pythons, nearly 20 hatchlings and nearly 100 hatched and unhatched eggs amid efforts to rid Florida of the invasive species.

According to a news release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Officer Matthew Rubenstein was on routine patrol just before midnight in the preserve when he came across python contractor Alex McDuffie catching and bagging a hatchling python.

The two banded together and searched the area for more hatchlings and soon found 18 more live hatchlings, FWC said.

According to FWC, Rubenstein continued searching and found a mulch pile containing a female Burmese python on a nest with 23 unhatched eggs. A few feet away, he found a separate nest with 74 recently hatched eggs.

The two removed an approximately 10-foot female Burmese python, 18 hatchlings and 23 unhatched eggs from the preserve, FWC said, turning over the eggs the Big Cypress python research program and McDuffie took the adult and hatchlings.

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McDuffie later returned Tuesday night and found the female python from the other nest. She measured in at a whopping 17-foot-6 inches long.

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