Two snake hunters in the Everglades pushed the record of the state's snake elimination program to over 17 feet when they brought in a Burmese python they caught in the Big Cypress National Preserve.
Jason Leon and a fellow snake hunter spotted the monstrous python completely submerged in the water Friday morning at 2:45, as reported by NBC Miami.
"We were able to get out and get ahold of her," Leon told the South Florida Water Management District. "There were actually two snakes. There was a little male that was sitting there with her. I told him to let the male go.
"We were both completely in the water. Got her out and shot her right in the head while I was holding her."
The python measured 17 feet, 1 inch and weighed 132 pounds, and broke the record in the South Florida Water Management District's Python Elimination Program. It surpassed the previous record of 16 feet, 11 inches by professional python hunter Dusty "Wildman" Crum in October. That record, as reported by GrindTV, broke Crum's previous record by an inch.
“If you see a snake this big,” Leon continued, “I don’t think you should jump on it, at least if you don’t have anyone with you. That snake could pretty much kill any full-grown man. If that snake was alive right now it would probably take three of us to control it.”
The Python Elimination Program was launched as an aggressive action to protect the Everglades from pythons and limit the negative impacts on its ecosystem.
It consists of a monetary compensation program that helps give python hunters incentive to kill these non-native destructive snakes, which have become the apex predator of the Everglades.
The water district pays approved hunters a minimum wage of $8.10 per hour up to eight hours a day. Then they pay out $50 per python up to 4 feet and $25 per foot after that. So a 17-footer would earn a hunter $375, as it did for Leon and his fellow snake hunter.
"We're gonna find a 20-footer tonight," he told SFWMD. He didn't, but he might someday.
Read more about pythons on GrindTV