Miami man captures, kills 18-foot python
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A Miami man captured the largest ever Burmese python found in Florida.
Jason Leon spotted the 18-foot, 8-inch, 128-pound snake in some brush near the side of a road on the night of May 11. "I never expected it to be the record, but just the fact that I saw the snake," he said. "I'd never seen it in the wild before."
The Palmetto Bay resident spotted the head of the reptile sticking out of some roadside brush. "The head was this far off the road," Leon said, holding out his arms to convey an idea of how close to the road the snake was. "I basically grabbed him by the neck and tried to pull him onto the road, and he was having none of it. He was so big that I couldn't move him."
Leon said the python started to wrap its long body around his leg and one of his arms. He struggled with the reptile for roughly 10 minutes before his friend stepped in to help with a knife and killed it. "Before we cut the head off she sat down on the snake," Leon said, "and the snake was able to slither with her whole body on top of him. I wasn't really scared. I knew it had teeth, and they were really sharp teeth. When I grabbed it by the neck, my biggest concern was being bitten."
Leon called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, which turned over the corpse of the invasive reptile to the University of Florida's Research and Education Center in Davie.
The previous record length for a Burmese python captured in the wilds of Florida was 17 feet, 7 inches, one foot shorter than the snake Leon caught. "Even if it was 10 feet, 12 feet, it was a great experience," he said.
Leon donated the python's skeleton, so once researchers finish their analysis, he said he plans to keep the skin.
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