16-foot long Burmese python has been found with three whole deer in its gut, a new study has revealed.
The snake was trapped and euthanised in the Florida Everglades in June 2013. Researchers who conducted a necropsy on the creature subsequently discovered its record-breaking deer consumption, details of which have now been published in the journal BioInvasions Records.
According to lead researcher Scott Boback, an associate professor of biology at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, the python probably consumed the deer over about 90 days — a relatively short period for a snake to have three such large meals.
"If a python is capable of eating three deer in three months," he told Live Science, "what else are they eating that we don't know about? We don't even know how many of them are out there [in the Everglades]."
The study notes that the non-native pythons have been known to eat indigenous animals, and previous research has shown a correlation between their presence and a drop in the number of mammals such as rabbits, bobcats and racoons.
Discussing the new findings, Boback said: "It just begs the question, 'How often are they eating these things?'"