By Sara Jerome,
A water management district in Florida had a slithery problem to contend with recently in the form of a 17-foot Burmese python.
In Homestead, a city near Miami, a snake hunter caught “a 17-foot, 5-inch 120 pound female Burmese python. The district says it's the longest Burmese python caught as part of South Florida Water Management District’s Python Elimination Program,” WPTV reported.
Snake hunter Kyle Penniston caught the giant reptile, CBS News reported. He described a dramatic fight with the snake in a Facebook post.
“She started wrapping me while I tried getting her up the levee,” he wrote. “She ended up making me lose my grip and as soon as I knew it she had my hand in her mouth.”
“I grabbed my pistol off my sideloaded one in the chamber and it jammed. I kept fighting till we were both dead of energy. I finally was able to get her up the levee and l euthanized her as it’s required by our program,” he added.
Though the size of the snake was record-setting, this is hardly an isolated incident for the water district.
“The water management district says snake hunters have so far eliminated 1,859 pythons on district lands,” WPTV reported.
South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) describes its python program as an “aggressive” effort to protect the Everglades and keep invasive pythons on public lands.
“The more that can be eliminated, especially females and their eggs, the better chance future generations of native wildlife will have to thrive in the Everglades ecosystem that Floridians have invested billions of dollars to restore,” the SFWMD stated, per Fox News.
The program began last year and empowers snake hunters to take action on this issue.
“The Python Elimination Program incentivizes a limited number of public-spirited individuals to kill these destructive snakes, which have become an apex predator in the Everglades,” the water management district states.