NAPLES, Fla. (CBS) — That’s a heck of a meal! The Conservancy of Southwest Florida documented a Burmese python eating a white-tailed deer that weighed more than the python itself.
According to The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, which does research on python behavior and habitats in order to help control the population of the invasive species, this is believed to be the largest predator-to-prey ratio documented for the Burmese python, and possibly for any species of python.
The findings will be published in the March 2018 issue of Herpetological Review.
This snake, an 11-foot female, was found in Collier Seminole State Park on April 7, 2015.
After capturing the snake and moving it to an open area, the snake began to regurgitate a young white-tailed deer.
The fawn weighed 35 pounds, which was 111-percent the mass of the python, which weighed 31.5 pounds.
“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.
“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.”
Biologists wonder if the Burmese python may be able to negatively impact the population of white-tailed deer by preying on young fawns before they are old enough to mate. Some studies suggest the Burmese python is responsible for a 90 percent decline in small mammal populations in the eastern Everglades.
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s mission is to protect the region’s water, land wildlife and future.
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is involved in Burmese python research in order to better understand their breeding and eating habits in an effort to help control the population.