A Miami man has captured and killed the largest Burmese python in Florida’s history. The massive reptile was 19 feet long and weighed in at 128 pounds, officials said on Monday.
Miami resident Jason Leon was driving along a rural Florida road on May 11, when he spotted the enormous python, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced in a statement. The snake was extending about 3 feet into the road from some nearby brush.
Rather than wait for the aid of local wildlife authorities, Leon decided to handle the situation on his own. The Miami resident had kept several Burmese pythons before the practice became illegal in 2010, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson Carli Segelson said.
According to reports, Leon exited his car, grabbed the 19-foot, 128-pound Burmese python by its head, and began to drag it off the road. When the snake retaliated by wrapping its hulking frame around his leg, Leon killed it with a knife. While the python is nonvenomous, it is capable of crushing potential prey.
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“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. The FWC is grateful to him both for safely removing such a large Burmese python and for reporting its capture,” said Kristen Sommers, exotic species coordination section leader for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Leon then reported the snake’s capture to the Wildlife Commission, which transported the reptile to the University of Florida Research and Education Center in Fort Lauderdale. According to university scientists, Leon’s captured snake surpassed the state’s previous record of 17 feet, 7 inches.
A pair of photos posted to the commission’s Facebook page help put this Burmese python’s size into perspective. In one picture, Leon can be seen struggling to hold up the snake. A second photo shows three researchers lying alongside the snake, in an attempt to provide scale to its 19-foot frame.
Although Burmese pythons are generally docile creatures, they can grow to weigh as much as 200 pounds, according to National Geographic. Florida’s wildlife commission adds that the pythons are an invasive species, and can have a negative effect on the nearby Everglades.