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Largest Burmese Python caught in Miami-Dade County

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 21st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Eighteen feet, eight inches long, it was by far the longest and largest Burmese Python ever caught in the Miami-Dade County area. A 128-pound female not carrying eggs, University of Florida scientists examined the snake. Pythons are decimating the local wildlife here, with the snakes devouring a big percentage of the mammal and fish supply.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The story begins on May 11th, when Jason Leon was riding late at night in a rural area of southeast Miami-Dade County. Leon and his passenger spotted the python, when about three feet of the snake was seen sticking out of the roadside brush.

Leon stopped his car, grabbed the snake behind its head and started dragging it out of the brush. The snake began to wrap itself around Leon's leg. Calling for assistance from others, Leon killed the snake with a knife. Leon said he once owned Burmese pythons as pets and had previous experience handling the non-venomous constrictor species.

"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," Kristen Sommers, Exotic Species Coordination Section Leader for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.

Leon then reported his python capture to the commission's South Region office, which then connected him to the hotline for reporting exotic species.

The python was turned over to the University of Florida's Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, where staff experienced in working with Burmese pythons performed the necropsy.

"With the help of people like Mr. Leon and our ongoing partnerships with other agencies, the commission is advancing what we know about Burmese pythons in Florida," Sommers said.

"This event highlights how the Exotic Species hotline allows the public to help us obtain more information about Burmese pythons, so we can improve management of this invasive species. It also reflects the cooperative efforts of the FWC and its partners to address python sightings by the public."

Burmese pythons are cannibalizing their way through the Everglades, decimating populations of native mammals. The snakes can grow more than 20 feet in length, and they have no predators, other than the humans desperately trying to control their population.

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