NAPLES, Fla. – A group of python hunters has broken the record for catching the longest Burmese python ever captured in Florida.
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida measured the creature, which came in at 19 feet and 125 pounds — the longest ever documented in Florida. The longest previously recorded Burmese python in Florida was 18 feet, 9 inches.
"It's the only snake I've ever seen that's scared me enough where I just didn't know what to do," said Jake Waleri, who found the snake in Big Cypress National Preserve.
Waleri, along with Ian Easterling, and Stephen Gauta, make up a group that calls themselves the "Glade Boys." They caught the female Burmese python on July 10 and were interested in learning about the full scope of the size of the catch. So, they bought the snake to the Conservancy to be measured.
What is a Burmese python?
A Burmese python is a nonnative constrictor that is much longer and heavier than any of Florida's native snakes. They typically grow to more than 7 feet long. Their scales look smooth compared to the rough, textured scales of native water snakes and can grow up to 20 feet long.
Where can you find Burmese pythons in Florida?
Burmese pythons have large breeding populations in Miami-Dade, Monroe and Collier counties, within and around the Florida Everglades. They're typically found near wetlands or open bodies of water.
Why are Burmese pythons a problem in Florida?
Since Burmese pythons aren't native to Florida, they lack natural predators in the state. The snakes inhabit the mainland around the Everglades, feasting on rare and endangered species. They don't attack people but disrupt the natural Florida ecosystem.