Green Anaconda, World's Largest Snake Species, Spotted in the Wild in Florida
A lot of weird things happen in Florida every week, and on Friday we're here to bring you the weirdest. In fact, as a bit of a break from all of the human weirdness, this week is a very special reptile-themed WTF Florida. What have our coldblooded friends been up to? Well, a rare green anaconda was spotted in the wild, two alligators got into a brawl on a Florida golf course, and we all got a sad reminder to keep your dog on a leash.
Photo via FWC
Green Anaconda Found in Florida
The Burmese python has taken up residence throughout Florida's swamps and established itself as a major breeding population, and though it may be the most prevalent reptilian pest, it's not the only species of invasive snake that has found its way to the Sunshine State.
In fact, this week Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officials found and euthanized a member of the world's largest snake species, the green anaconda.
Fishermen spotted the snake slithering along the St. Johns River near the border of Brevard and Orange counties.
"It wasn't skinny," Derrick Lockhart, a captain at Midway Air Boat Rides, told Clock Orlando. "It was eating, or it was recently dropped off and had something to eat — its farewell meal."
Officials euthanized the snake on the riverbank.
The particular specimen was nine feet long, but green anacondas can reach lengths of more than 17 feet. By just a few inches, the species, native to South America, is only the second-longest snake in the world but is the heaviest by average weight (in fact, the species was the focus of Discovery Channel's shock program Eaten Alive last year). This was only the fifth anaconda ever spotted in the wild in Florida. The snakes are banned as pets in the state, and any pet anacondas that were privately held before the ban were required to be tagged. This snake, however, wasn't tagged, so officials have little idea where it might have come from or how long it has lived in the wild.
Gators Tussle on Golf Course
Meanwhile, the species that's supposed to be Florida's apex reptile decided to get itself into the news this week as well.
At the Myakka Pines Golf Club in Englewood, Florida, golfers and gators try to coexist in peace. The club has a strict "no harassment" and "no feeding" policy regarding alligators that live in the nearby waters. One gator in particular has become the king of the course. Goliath, so nicknamed for his size, has been spotted near the links every once in a while. He's estimated to be about 12 to 13 feet long.
Well, this past Saturday, another large gator encroached on Goliath's turf, and Goliath struck back.
Crocodile Kills Pit Bull Mix in Key Biscayne
In less amusing reptile-on-golf-course action and an important reminder to keep your dog on a leash, a crocodile that lives in a retention pond near the Crandon Park Golf Course in Key Biscayne snatched a family's pit bull mix this week.
The dog's owner was biking through the public course while her unleashed pet followed behind. The dog got too close to the retention pond, where it was snatched by a crocodile. FWC officials were called to the scene but ended up simply watching the croc drag the dog around the lake in a gruesome sight.
Officials could do little about the attack. Crocodiles are federally protected, and this particular animal is deemed afraid of humans and thus not a nuisance to human life.
Signs are posted along the golf course warning of the crocodile's presence and reminding owners to keep their pets leashed.
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