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Largest Burmese Python Caught in Florida by Jason Leon, Measuring 18-foot-8-inches

Burmese Python Florida

Jason Leon has caught the largest ever Burmese python recorded in Florida.

The 128-pound, 18-foot-8-inch python was caught on the evening of May 11 in the rural area of Miami-Dade County during an all-terrain drive. Jason Leon and his passengers spotted the giant snake in the road. When they pulled over, the snake was sticking three feet out from a bush.

While Leon was trying to pull the python out from the bush, the Burmese python began to wrap itself around Leon's leg.

"At one point it was wrapped around both my legs and one of my arms," Leon told the Sun-Sentinel. "I knew I had to keep it away from my neck. I wasn't scared. I had two other people right there. I knew if it came down to it, they would help me out."

His friends used a knife to kill the python, which turned out to be the record breaking 18-foot-8-inch female, as later identified by University of Florida experts.

"I certainly didn't want to kill the snake," said Leon, a marine biology student at Florida International University. "I just didn't have a big enough bag to bring it back."

Leon reported his capture to the commission, who then turned the snake over to its partners at the University of Florida Research and Education Center in Fort Lauderdale.

"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," said Kristen Sommers, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Exotic Species Coordination Section Leader.

"The FWC is grateful to him both for safely removing such a large Burmese python and for reporting its capture," Sommers added. "This event highlights how the Exotic Species hotline allows the public to help us obtain more information about Burmese pythons, so we can improve management of this invasive species. It also reflects the cooperative efforts of the FWC and its partners to address python sightings by the public."

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the snake weighed in at 128-pounds and was not carrying eggs.

The previous record for the longest python caught in the wild in Florida was a 17-foot-7-inch, 164 ½-pound python caught in August in Everglades National Park.

Pythons are an invasive species in Florida, where researchers believe they are eating their way through populations of native mammals in the Everglades.

Florida prohibits owning or selling pythons for use as pets, and federal law bans importation and interstate sale of the species.

To report sightings of exotic species, visit IveGot1.org or call 888-IveGot1. There is also a free smartphone app: IVEGOT1.

Record-breaking 18ft python captured and killed in Florida

A Florida man caught and killed a Burmese Python which turned out to be the biggest on record.

Related Stories:

Florida Opens Python Hunting Challenge to Help Burmese Python Problem
Florida Python Hunt: 21 Burmese Pythons Caught so Far in 2013 Challenge

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28 Responses »

  1. Thats great! You killed an animal because its one of a kind!

    I love Humans

    • He didn't want to kill it if you read the article through. But at the same time you cannot leave it go back to the wild. They are not from Florida. They were introduced by people who had them as pets and then let them go. Hate those idiots not this one nut bag. Id like to see what you would do in that case.

      • Yes it is not native but what serious danger does it pose? Snakes, particularly non-venomous species, are more beneficial than harmful to their surroundings.
        "The National Geographic Society’s Resident Herpetologist, Dr. Brady Barr, has stated, “Climate data reveal that temperatures found in southern Florida simply are not conducive to the long term survival of large tropical snakes. When it gets cold, these snakes die”. Dr. Barr goes on to say, “Feral Hogs are a bigger problem for the Everglades than pythons. The press has sensationalized this story to the point that people think the sky is falling. Hopefully comprehensive research such as Jacobson et al. will put an end to the hysteria.”" [21]

    • Lower your liberal panties there TED, This breed is destroying native species all throughout the everglades. Im sure you would love for our tax dollars to go towards a new government program to fund the capture these invasive snakes, their transportation back to their native country, and of course the best possible care throughout the trip, but thats just not going to happen, im sure obama would love the idea but it just wont happen. Until then, Humans can continue using the dead animal to teach more liberal students about their anatomy at the local college. Maybe you should change your sentence to I love Obama.

    • Did you even read the article? Yes, its sad that they had to kill something as amazing as this creature was. However, it's not even supposed to be living in Florida. Hence the part about it being an invasive species.

      "Pythons are an invasive species in Florida, where researchers believe they are eating their way through populations of native mammals in the Everglades."

      So from your stand point we should save one creature but allow it to destroy entire populations of others.

      I love stupid Humans.

    • Ted, it's an invasive species. It doesn't belong here and it's wiping out native North American species. Burmese pythons belong in Burma (Myanmar), not Florida, U.S.A. They need to be wiped out, if possible, to restore the ecological balance. Get it?

  2. I'm impressed he can pick up that snake!

  3. Pure idiot. Killed a life resting in the bush for the hack of it.

  4. It's unfortunate that the problem has gotten out of hand, and now innocent snakes have to die, but under the circumstances there isn't much else that can be done.

  5. Another human out for a night of fun... looking for something to kill!

    I love humans as we'll. we breed like rats, and over populate the earth,

    and slaughter everything in our path. Gods creatures....

  6. This snake is not native. How do you think it got here? The answer...humans!

  7. Agreed, you kill the snake simply because you don't have a bag big enough to carry it back in? Maybe that is a good indication that you don't need to bring it back? What exactly was accomplished here other than someone killing a very special and unique species? Simply amazing......

  8. poor snake. at the wrong place at the wrong time.

  9. Where are all the bleeding liberal hearts for the 100 or so native species that are being wiped out as a result of these things?

  10. Time to make boots!

  11. They couldn't just leave the snake ALONE???? WHY are people so hateful-they won't be happy until there are no animals roaming anywhere. I think this story is sickening and he has no reason to be standing there smiling.

  12. I'm a liberal and I support 100% the hunting and killing of these snakes. Only an idiot would put a political spin on something like this.

  13. You know, this article brought out some real "intelligent" and completely misinformed people.

    These pythons are destroying the Everglade's natural inhabitants and Florida put out a death warrant on the damned things some time ago. All these bozos who think he "killed it for the (sic) hack" of it.... etc are clearly uninformed.

  14. A Good Snake is a Dead Snake !!!!!!!!!!!

  15. My python boots are too tight
    Couldn't get 'em off last night
    A week went by
    Now it's July
    Finally got 'em off and my girlfriend cried
    "You got stinkfoot!"

  16. Bleeding heart liberals...I'll bet if that snake had eaten your dog or cat or livestock you would have a different opinion. That's probably how it got that big, humans leaving their pets outside so it would have something to eat. They will wipe out all the native species before they die of cold. And it's not " one of a kind ", there are plenty more out there.

  17. NOBODY loves animals more than I do, but on the other hand, nobody hates ignorance more.

    Burmese pythons are an INVASIVE SPECIES. Repeat slowly out loud, IN-VASE-IVE.

    Then, google it because I don't have time to explain it.

    These snakes were introduced to South Florida by humans, in most cases those who likely had them as pets. Having a large python as a pet is ignorant all by itself. Then, in a final act of ignorance and selfishness, the snakes were let go, probably on the side of a road, probably by idiots who realized that babies are cute, but they couldn't take care of a 15 foot snake once it reached adulthood.

    Now, these snakes are breeding. That is a problem, because they are not natural to South Florida. As some previous posters have stated, they are destroying many of the native species.

    They are killing household pets.

    And, occasionally they are killing people. An 18 foot python is quite capable of killing a human being.

    Maybe your child will be playing in your back yard in South Florida, and you will turn your back for just a minute, just one minute....and one of these snakes will kill your baby before your ignorant brain knows what hit it.

    Then, this female snake will lay eggs, and hatch dozens of more pythons which can grow to 18 feet or larger.

    As sad as it is to an animal lover like I am, these snakes can not be left alone when found. They have to be captured or killed. This one had to be killed, because it was too large for these guys to capture, and if they left it there so they could come back, it would have been gone.

    So, now it's dead. Blame the ignorant and selfish and cruel people who released these snakes in the first place. The blood is on their hands.

    End of story.


  18. I can understand working to remove them..I don't understand killing them..why can't they do a zoo thing until at such time that enough have been captured that we relocate them...we have planes flying all over the world everyday..and yes I know it costs..lots to be learned from this story...

  19. Most of you have got to be kidding. Geez! It was a BURMESE python and not a Florida python. Kidding aside, do you even understand the meaning of the word "invasive?" It has the same root word as invasion, Catch my drift? These non-native species are destroying the South Florida ecosystem by eating, or trying to eat everything, in their paths, including alligators. Have any of you faux snake lovers even been in the Everglades? There aren't a lot of rats or other vermin for constrictors to eat so they eat what's available. Worst of all pythons are expanding their territory and that's bad news for everyone. You misled folks need to get a grip on reality and what's important for Florida and the country. It seems that unbelievable stupidity runs rampant in the US these days. Sad.


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