(CNN) – What would you do if you met a Burmese python of 44.5 kilos during a hike in Florida?
To run? Stay still? Pass out?
Cynthia Downer and Jonathan López met one on September 22 at the Big Cypress National Reserve in Ochopee, Florida, and caught her.RELATED
Of course, they knew what they were doing. The captors are members of the Python Action Team of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The female snake, which measures 18 feet 4 inches (about 5.6 meters), is the second largest wild python ever captured in the state, according to the commission. It is only 10.2 centimeters smaller than the animal that holds the record.
The capture of large adult female pythons is crucial to prevent them from adding between 30 and 60 offspring to the population each time they reproduce, the commission said.
The Python Action Team was created by the commission to direct the control efforts of these snakes. These team members are paid to find and capture Burmese pythons in regions throughout South Florida. The snake is not native to the state, and was probably introduced to the area as a pet that escaped or was released.
The team has so far captured 900 pythons, the commission said.
"Eliminating 900 pythons is a great milestone for our Python Action Team!" Said executive director Eric Sutton. "These snakes, along with the thousands eliminated by our partners in the National Park Service and the South Florida Water Administration District, have a significant impact on protecting Florida's native wildlife."