Giant 9-foot Python Spotted Slithering Outside Florida Family's Home

A Florida family has spotted a giant Burmese python in the yard of their home. The snake, which was estimated to measure around nine feet in length, appeared to be sunning itself, Alicia Perez Carillo, a member of the family, told CBS4 Miami.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) the cold-blooded pythons like to venture out into the open more frequently in cooler weather in order to catch some sun and warm up—meaning people are more likely to encounter them.

Carillo told CBS4 that after finding the python outside their home, the family were very concerned about the snake because they have children who enjoy playing outside.

The family called several organizations—including private animal removal companies and the City of Coral Gables—but they said they would not remove the giant python.

Finally, the family contacted the FWC and within 20 minutes, a snake catcher arrived to remove the snake. The FWC operates a python removal hotline, which members of the public can call if they see a python.

Burmese pythons are native to Southeast Asia, including southern China, parts of Malaysia and Thailand and India. But they have now become established in southern Florida as an invasive species, with scientists estimating that the population could number anywhere between 100,000 and 300,000—or perhaps even higher.

Scientist say accurate population estimates are hard to make because the snakes are often difficult to detect, despite their large size.

The U.S Geological Survey says Burmese pythons are "one of the most concerning invasive species" in the Everglades National Park because they disrupt the food chain of the native ecosystem. The snakes compete with non-native wildlife for food while also eating native animals.

Significant population declines in some native mammal species, such as raccoons, opossums and bobcats, have been linked to the proliferation of the non-native Burmese pythons.

Researchers think the python population became established thanks to exotic pet owners releasing their snakes into the wild, either accidentally or intentionally.

The snake trapper who removed the python from the yard of the Carillo family home said in a video: "In the 70s and the 80s, they were really popular in the pet trade and the Port of Miami [had] tons of pets come in—tons of wildlife for the reptile trade."

Florida is home to more non-native species than any other place in the world, according to the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In part, this is due to the state's subtropical climate—where many species can thrive and become established—but also the fact that Florida is a major transportation hub, which sees a large quantity of passenger and cargo traffic.

A Burmese python
Stock image showing a Burmese python. A nine-foot-long python was found in the yard of a Florida family's home. iStock