Snake hunters catch 17-foot-long python in Florida Everglades


Homstead, Fla. - Just when you thought pythons couldn't grow any larger, a hunter caught one in the Everglades on Friday measuring a whopping 17 feet 1 inch long.

The python is the largest caught under the South Florida Water Management District python elimination program, which started in April.

"After finding the 17'1" (5.2 m) python submerged in water at around 2:45 Friday morning, Jason Leon managed to pull the 132-lbs.

Leon also holds the state record for the biggest ever python kill.

The invasive Burmese python, which breeds and multiplies quickly and has no natural predator in the Everglades ecosystem, has decimated native populations of wildlife.

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Its native habitat ranges from India to lower China, throughout the Malay Peninsula and on some islands in the East Indies, where it typically lives near water.

The massive python was the biggest so far in the district hunt established as a way to to raise the profile of the spread of the invasive species.

"We have these guys out there eating our alligators, raccoons, possums, otters, pretty much everything out there", he said.

For this snake, the hunters will receive a total of $375.

Since the program's initiation in March, more than 730 pythons have been removed from the Everglades.