On May 11, Jason Leon spotted roughly three feet of python protruding from some bushes in a rural area of Miami-Dade County. He pulled the 18-foot, 8-inch python to the road, only to lose control of the giant female snake, which quickly wrapped itself around his arms and legs. After calling for help, Leon killed the python with a knife.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released a statement thanking Leon.
“Jason Leon’s nighttime sighting and capture of a Burmese python of more than 18 feet in length is a notable accomplishment that set a Florida record. The FWC is grateful to him both for safely removing such a large Burmese python and for reporting its capture,” said Kristen Sommers, with FWC, in a release.
Pythons have been a problem in Florida since the 1980s, when residents who adopted them as pets began releasing them into the wild. Many of the snakes also escaped pet stores during Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Without any natural predators, there's nothing to stop the pythons from decimating local wildlife. As a result, Florida sponsors events like the “2013 Python Challenge" to combat the giant reptiles.
Florida's previous record for largest Burmese python was set last August when a 17-foot, 7-inch female was caught and killed in the Everglades. That snake, however, had the edge in weight – 164 pounds versus 128 – perhaps because it was pregnant with over 80 eggs. If you're curious what python eggs look like, here's a picture of 59 still inside a Burmese python captured in 2009.