A nursery raid of sorts in Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve led to officials capturing two female Burmese pythons, dozens of their hatchlings, and 23 eggs,.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said officer Matthew Rubenstein was on routine patrol in the preserve on July 11, when he ran into Alex McDuffie, a python contractor, who had just bagged a hatchling.
The two looked around the area and found 18 more hatchlings, according to CBS Miami.
Sensing a nest nearby, they continued to search and found a mulch pile with a 10-foot female Burmese Python sitting on 23 unhatched eggs, CBS Miami reports.
But that wasn’t the end.
A few feet away, they found a second nest with 74 recently-hatched eggs.
The female python and hatchlings were given to McDuffie and the 23 unhatched eggs were turned over to the Big Cypress Python research program, CBS Miami reports.
The following night, McDuffie returned and captured the female python from the second nest — she came in at 17 feet and 6 inches, according to the FWC.
Last month, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida said that biologists caught the. The snake was nearly 18 feet long and weighed 215 pounds; it also had 122 unhatched eggs.
The Burmese python is an invasive species, and capturing its females is critical to disrupting their breeding cycle. In fact, the state of Florida has a, which runs for two weeks in August and rewards participants with prizes.