Record-Breaking Python Found In Florida Everglades (Photos)

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A 17-foot, 1-inch, 132-pound Burmese python was captured in the Florida Everglades, making it the largest to ever be captured by the South Florida Water Management District's python elimination program.

"That snake could pretty much kill any full-grown man," said Jason Leon, one of the snake hunters who discovered the behemoth serpent, according to WTVJ. "If that snake was alive right now it would probably take like three of us to be able to control that snake."

Invasive snakes entered the Everglades in the 1980s, according to the Miami Herald. They are the area's top predator. The SFWMD launched its python elimination program in March, according to Fox News. More than 730 pythons have been removed since then.

The elimination program will continue until its $125,000 budget runs out.

Hunters are paid $8.10 an hour to search for the snakes and receive $50 for every 4-foot-long one they catch, WTVJ reports. The payment increases by $25 for every foot beyond that. The giant python, which the hunters captured on Dec. 1, is a $375 find.

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Pythons are causing havoc in the Florida Everglades to indigenous wildlife; its ravenous appetite causes the large snakes to eat any animal they can find.

"We have these guys out there eating our alligators, raccoons, possums, otters, pretty much everything out there," said Leon. "There's no natural predators too."

Leon also holds the record for the largest python ever caught in the state; he captured an 18-foot, 8-inch python in 2013, according to Fox News.

"We're going to find a 20-footer tonight," he joked after turning in the snake to a field station.

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Leon said in a SFWMD video that he discovered the female snake in a body of water and quickly shot her before she could get out. Another python, a smaller male, was also nearby but was not caught. It's unclear whether the two had mated.

The snake hunter also helped catch the python elimination program's 500th specimen in August, the Miami Herald reports. Though an avid python catcher, he does not advocate tackling large ones by yourself.

"If you see a snake this big, I don't think you should jump on it," Leon said, according to WTVJ. "At least if you don't have somebody else with you."

The catch breaks the record of the previous holder, Dusty Crum, by 2 inches. Crum caught a 16-foot, 11-inch python on Nov. 2, according to WSVN.

Sources: WTVJFox NewsMiami HeraldWSVN / Featured Image: PxHere / Embedded Images: South Florida Water Management District via Fox News

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