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Massive 16-foot python with nest of 50 eggs removed from Florida Everglades

By Stephen Sorace | Fox News

A female Burmese python that stretched 16 feet was found in the Florida Everglades over the weekend with its nest of nearly 50 eggs.

Ron Bergeron, an Everglades conservationist, removed the 165-pound snake from its nest beneath a home in Possum Head Camp, about four miles south of Alligator Alley. Some eggs hatched as Bergeron inspected the nest. Brian Van Landingham and Frank Branca assisted in the capture and destruction of the snake and its nest.

“The Burmese python poses a significant threat to the Florida Everglades by disrupting the natural food chain,” Bergeron, who goes by the nickname “Alligator Ron,” told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “With good fortune, we were able to find a large female, and remove her and an entire nest of up to 50 baby snakes which would have continued killing off our precious habitat.”

The Burmese python is an invasive species of snake that is damaging the natural ecosystem of the Everglades, experts have said.

The Burmese python is an invasive species of snake that is damaging the natural ecosystem of the Everglades, experts have said. (Ron Bergeron)

Native to Southeast Asia, the Burmese python is one of the largest snakes and considered an invasive species. It began appearing in the Everglades more than 20 years ago when the reptiles were imported as pets, the U.S. Department of Agriculture states on its website.

The apex predator has caused severe declines in mammal populations in the Everglades, including endangered species, according to the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area.

Bergeron said in a video posted online that the reptiles eat rabbits, possum, deer and bobcats. A Burmese python has previously been seen devouring a 7-foot alligator in the Everglades, according to National Geographic.

The python caught over the weekend measured 16 feet, 1-inch long. It was about 1 foot shy of the record length in Florida.

The python caught over the weekend measured 16 feet, 1-inch long. It was about 1 foot shy of the record length in Florida.(Ron Bergeron)

Wildlife officials encourage the removal or humane killing of the Burmese python to reduce its impact on the environment. The pythons can be killed at any time throughout the year and no permit is required, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

The snakes can reach a length of over 25 feet and weigh as much as 200 pounds. The average size of a python removed in Florida is usually between 8 and 10 feet, the agencysaid.

The Burmese python Bergeron helped remove was 16 feet, 1-inch long — about 1 foot shy of the record-setting length of the Everglades python captured in April.

Bergeron, a board member of the South Florida Water Management District, said he and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are working on a plan to “increase the pressure” on the pythons to preserve the Everglades.

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Family finds $300,000 of gold treasure off coast of Florida

Family finds $300,000 of gold treasure off coast of Florida

Published September 03, 2013

FoxNews.com
  • treasuregold.jpg

    Gold coins discovered in mid-July from the same 1715 ship wreckage off the coast of Florida. (FoxNews/MrUltimateNews)

A Florida treasure-hunting family struck it rich over the weekend when they discovered an estimated $300,000 worth of gold coins and chains off the coast of Fort Pierce.

“This is like the end of a dream” Rick Schmitt who found the sunken treasure with his family and fellow diver Dale Zeak told the Sun-Sentinel.com.

Schmitt and wife Lisa along with their grown children Hillary and Eric uncovered the treasure 150 yards offshore which includes 64 feet of thin gold chains, five gold coins and a gold ring.

“What’s really neat about them [Schmitt family] is they are a family, they spend family time together out there and the most amazing part about them is they always believed this day would come,” Brent Brisben whose company 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels LLC owns the rights to the wreckage told Reuters.

The treasure found by the Schmitts comes from the wreckage of a convoy of 11 ships that were destroyed in a hurricane off the coast of Florida in 1715 while en route from Havana to Spain. The 1977 film “The Deep” and the 2008 “Fool’s Gold” film were based off of the 1715 wreckage.

According to the ships’ manifests, $400 million worth of treasure was on board and so far only $175 million has been found, Brisben said.

Brisben’s company bought the rights to the wreck site from legendary treasure hunter Mel Fisher in 2010. He allows others to search for gold under subcontracting agreements.

The Schmitts have been searching for treasure for years and before discovering the gold, a 2002 haul included a $25,000 silver platter. This is also not the first find for Brisben who found 51 gold coins in July worth around $250,000.

In accordance with U.S. and Florida law, the treasure will be taken into custody by the U.S. District Court in South Florida. The state of Florida will then be allowed to possess up to 20 percent of the find to put on display in a state-run museum. The remainder of the gold will be split evenly between Brisben’s company and the Schmitt family.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/09/03/family-finds-300000-gold-treasure-off-coast-florida/?intcmp=features#ixzz2dxASyMG6

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