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