Record-setting 17-foot python caught in Everglades

Leon set a record for the South Florida Water Management Departments Python Elimination Program with this 17-foot-1-inch Burmese python that he brought to the Districts Homestead Field Station Dec. 4 2017

Record-setting 17-foot python caught in Everglades

The python is the largest caught under the South Florida Water Management District python elimination program, which started in April.

Jason Leon captured and killed a 17-foot-1-inch Burmese python on Friday in the Big Cypress National Preserve in the Everglades.

Burmese pythons can be as long as 26 feet and weigh more than 200 pounds.

He said in an SFWMD video that he grabbed the female snake while she was still submerged in water. He described it as being able to "kill any full-grown man".

Jason Leon, who snagged this 17-foot python, also holds the Florida state record.

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The water district's Python Elimination Program asks licensed South Florida hunters to remove the invasive animals in order to protect native wildlife.

'We have these guys out there eating our alligators, raccoons, possums, otters, pretty much everything out there, ' Leon said.

But since the 1980s, released snakes and their offspring have preyed on mammals, birds and reptiles native to Florida. 'There's no natural predators too'. The snake was found in the company of a small male snake.

Since the program began in March, more than 730 pythons have been removed from the Everglades, according to the agency.

Burmese pythons, one of the largest snake species on earth, are breeding in the park and spreading throughout south Florida.

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