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An enormous 17-foot, 140-pound female python was captured by researchers, setting a record for the largest python to be removed from the Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida, officials said.

Male pythons are tagged with radio transmitters, allowing researchers to track the male as it moves toward breeding females.

The preserve posted a photograph of four researchers holding up the giant reptile in the 729,000-acre swampland expanse west of Miami.

In recent decades, the big snakes have become a menace in Florida. "They will kind of circle an area and that way the scientists will know that male has found a female ready to breed, and that's exactly what this lead to", python hunter and founder of Swamp Apes Tom Rahill said.

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Tens of thousands of Burmese pythons are now estimated to be living in Florida's Everglades.

While this latest find is impressive, it's not the biggest python to have been discovered in the Florida Everglades.

According to the United States Geological Survey, drastic falls in the population of raccoons, opossums and bobcats in the Everglades are linked to pythons - while rabbits and foxes "effectively disappeared" from the area.

The massive python also contained 73 developing eggs.

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The pythons began turning up in the Everglades in the 1980s, most likely abandoned by pet owners when the snakes got too big to handle.

Since then, the python has disrupted the natural ecosystem of predator and prey in the Everglades, competing with native wildlife for food and contributing to the decline in several mammal species.

The snake poses significant threats to native wildlife, so to control their populations, Florida encourages hunters to remove as many of them as possible. The searchers found only 68 snakes.

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