When it came to eating his last meal, a 16-foot-long Burmese python in South Florida did not mess around.
The humongous, slithering snake devoured a 76-pound female deer right before the snake was captured and killed last Thursday in western Miami-Dade County in the Everglades.
Workers from the South Florida Water Management District came across the surprising, and surprisingly large, discovery on Thursday as they were removing non-native plants from a tree island.
Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission captured and killed the python, one of the largest ever found in South Florida, with a shotgun.
The deer was reportedly already dead when the snake consumed it. Autopsy results showed the python had a girth of 44 inches after eating the deer, found still fully intact, inside his belly.
“This is clearly an extreme event,” Skip Snow, a python specialist at Everglades National Park who conducted the autopsy, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “It shows you they can eat huge things.”
Commission officials said their decision to kill the snake was necessary in order to help stem the species from spreading further north.
Burmese pythons is one of the many species whose population in the Everglades has grown recently thanks to their release by local residents who once bought them as exotic pets but then set them loose after they grew too big. Many have also escaped from enclosures destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.