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American python hunters in Florida catch longest Burmese python ever found

American python hunters in Florida catch longest Burmese python ever found

It measured a massive 19-feet-long

If you're scared of snakes look away now as the the longest documented Burmese python has been caught in Florida measuring a whopping 19-feet long.

The slithering behemoth was wrestled into submission by python hunter, Jake Waleri, in the Big Cypress National Preserve near Naples, Florida in the early morning hours of Monday (10 July).

Waleri and his colleague, Steven Gauta, took the snake to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, an environmental nonprofit, to be officially measured and examined.

But first they had to tape its fanged jaws and get its muscular coils under control - a task not for the faint hearted.

The team at the Conversancy confirmed that the snake was in fact 19 feet long and weighed 125 pounds - meaning it was the biggest on record.

The largest prior to this was also snagged in South Florida, 35 miles west of Miami in October of 2020, and measured 18 feet and 9 inches.

Waleri told the Conservancy: "We brought the snake to the Conservancy to be officially measured and documented. We wanted to donate this find to science.”

The Conservancy has been controlling the threat of the invasive Burmese python for ten years through research and removal efforts that are claimed to be science-based and humane.

They donate the python to science.

They've removed more than 30,000 pounds of python from a 150 square mile area in southwestern Florida.

Born and raised in the area, Waleri understands the importance of removing the apex predator out of the delicate ecosystem because they've been known to kill native wildlife and pets.

“It’s awesome to be able to make an impact on South Florida’s environment. We love this ecosystem and try to preserve it as much as possible.”

Ian Easterling, a Conservancy Biologist said of the find: “We had a feeling that these snakes get this big and now we have clear evidence.

"Her genetic material may prove valuable for an eventual understanding of the founding population of South Florida. We will be collecting measurements and samples that will be distributed to our research collaborators.”

The invasive snakes are known to kill local wildlife and pets.

Waleri, who's been hunting snakes since 2020, admitted that capturing a snake of this size was 'insane' and 'very chaotic' — but it was also a dream.

“I knew we were capable of it but I didn’t know it would happen,” he told USA Today.

"Last year my cousin and I caught a snake that was almost 18 feet long, and we realized we could handle a snake of that size.

“At first I just held onto the tail for dear life. And then one of my friends took a net and tried to pin its head down, and we quickly realized that was not a winning strategy.”

He continued: “It’s the only snake that’s scared me so much that I didn’t know what to do.”

Waleri stated his concern at the species increasing in size every year.

Another high-profile python captured this week was pregnant with 60 eggs, to which he commented:

'We need to pull these big females out of the ecosystem before they lay eggs.”

Featured Image Credit: 9 News

Topics: News, US News, Animals, Environment