In October of 1979, whereas on a primary date, retired Florida park ranger Jam Massey discovered an 11-foot, 9-inch road-killed python alongside the Tamiami Path in Everglades Nationwide Park. It was the primary Burmese python ever faraway from the realm. Now, the invasive snakes slither within the tens of hundreds all throughout South Florida.

Burmese pythons are one of many largest snakes on the earth. Throughout their native vary in southeast Asia, the nonvenomous constrictors can develop longer than 20 ft and weigh as a lot as 200 kilos. The heaviest are typically females, however their weight can fluctuate drastically relying on what number of eggs they carry, how not too long ago they’ve eaten, and the scale of their final meal. A python’s capability to unhinge its versatile jaws permits it to swallow very massive prey—together with, in uncommon however documented situations, full-grown human beings.

In Florida, the place the invasive species has been creating havoc within the Everglades ecosystem for many years, pythons are the goal of vigorous, sustained makes an attempt to manage their numbers by capturing and killing them. Skilled python hunters, scientific researchers, and newbie snake wranglers have taken down some extremely monstrous snakes through the years. Listed here are 10 of the very greatest pythons ever recorded in Florida.

1. Longest Florida Python Ever

The longest python ever captured in Florida—to date—is an 18-foot, 9-inch snake nabbed on October 2, 2020, by skilled python hunters Kevin Pavlidis and Ryan Ausburn. Working for a python-elimination program run by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Fee (FWC) and the South Florida Water Administration District, the pair battled the 104-pound feminine in a canal about 35 miles west of Miami. In an Instagram submit, Pavlidis—who has caught a whole lot of pythons and makes use of the social media deal with snakeaholic—referred to as it “a once-in-a-lifetime” catch. “I’ve by no means seen a snake anyplace this dimension, and my arms had been shaking as I approached her,” Pavlidis wrote. “Each python we catch might be probably harmful, however one this dimension? Deadly.” (F&S profiled Pavlidis and Ausburn within the characteristic story “Contract Killers,” which appeared in our Hazard Problem.)

2. Man Vs. Snake

Jason Leon hefts the coiled beast after a roadside battle; College of Florida researchers put the python’s size in perspective. Florida Fish and Wildlife

The 18-foot, 8-inch feminine python captured in a rural a part of Miami-Dade County by Jason Leon in 2013 reigned as Florida’s longest python for seven years till Pavlidis and Ausburn topped it in 2020. Leon gave chase after recognizing solely 3 ft of the snake’s physique protruding from roadside cowl, then referred to as for assist after the python revealed its full size and commenced wrapping itself round his leg. Finally, he was in a position to kill the huge predator with a knife. College of Florida scientists decided the 128-pound feminine was not carrying eggs. The FWC, which documented the snake because the state’s longest on the time, famous the earlier record-length python had measured 17 ft, 7 inches (see under).

3. The Largest Python of Massive Cypress

photo of huge python
Python Motion Crew members Cynthia Downer and Jonathan Lopez showcase their 18-foot, 4-inch catch. TKTKTKTK

The FWC created a Python Motion Crew in 2017 to enlist non-public residents within the state’s python eradication efforts. By 2019, group members—who receives a commission to survey and seize Burmese pythons on sure south Florida public lands—had eliminated greater than 900 of the invaders, together with this 18-foot, 4-inch feminine that Cynthia Downer and Jonathan Lopez captured Sept. 20 of that yr at Massive Cypress Nationwide Protect. The 98-pound, 10-ounce python is the biggest ever eliminated by the group and the biggest to return out of the 729,000-acre swamp situated lower than 50 miles from Miami. On the time, it was additionally the second-longest wild python caught anyplace in Florida, simply 4 inches shy of Jason Leon’s 2013 catch.

4. Shark Valley Tremendous-Serpent

photo of large python
College of Florida researchers showcase the 18-plus-footer. USGS

Researchers from the College of Florida who had been trying to find python specimens within the Shark Valley space of Everglades Nationwide Park in July 2015 captured an 18-foot, 3-inch feminine on a preferred wildlife-watching path. In response to a CBS Information article printed on the time, Nationwide Park Service and US Geological Survey interns who had been engaged on python management received a bit on-the-job coaching as they had been allowed to deal with the snake earlier than it was euthanized “to assist them acquire confidence and expertise.” The python weighed 133 kilos. A necropsy discovered that it had not reproduced throughout the latest breeding season, and its abdomen was empty—in any other case, it definitely would have weighed extra.

5. Heaviest Florida Python Ever—By Far

photo of 215-pound python
Conservancy of Southwest Florida researchers deal with the 215-pound colossus. Conservancy of Southwest Florida

An almost 18-foot-long python captured in December 2021 by researchers from the Conservancy of Southwest Florida was billed as the most important python ever recorded outdoors its native habitat when the group went public with their discover this June. At a whopping 215 kilos, it’s definitely the heaviest. The scientists used a scout snake—a male python geared up with a monitoring gadget and launched in the course of the breeding season—to make them the massive feminine. A necropsy found 122 growing eggs contained in the python. You may learn our full story of this beast right here.

6. Street Kill

A school scholar and two companions had been snake looking in Collier County in mid-August once they noticed a Burmese python that stretched the complete width of a two-lane highway. Joshua Laquis, a senior at Rollins Faculty, in Winter Park, Florida, informed Information 6 Orlando that he and two members of Glades Boys Python Adventures he met on Instagram, Jake Waleri and Stephen Gauta, “all screamed” once they noticed the 17-foot, 10-inch python crossing U.S. 41 within the Everglades. “All of us hunted snakes earlier than, however none of us have seen something this dimension,” Laquis stated. “One thing this massive was unbelievable to see.” The three males struggled for 10 minutes to realize management of the 104-pound snake, which died within the battle. “It was only a loopy expertise,” Waleri informed Fox 4.

7. Massive Mama

photo of python skeleton
Florida Museum of Pure Historical past

Touted as the biggest python ever documented in Florida when it was captured in August 2012, the 17-foot, 7-inch feminine weighed 164.5 kilos and carried 87 eggs—additionally a state document on the time. Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey collected the snake within the Everglades Nationwide Park, and it was finally taken to the Florida Museum of Pure Historical past for examination as a part of a long-term analysis undertaking with the U.S. Division of the Inside finding out methods to take care of the invasive species. The snake’s skeleton remains to be on show on the museum.

8. Burmese Biter

Additionally measuring 17 ft, 7 inches, this 135-pound snake was documented by wildlife officers because the longest ever captured within the South Florida Water Administration District after Mike “Python Cowboy” Kimmel caught it in July 2020—a document that might be eclipsed three months later by the highest entry on this checklist. A snake hunter and winner of Florida’s Python Problem who paperwork his exploits on his common YouTube channel, Kimmel nabbed the beast on an island within the Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Administration Space of the Everglades, and was pressured to make use of his snake bag as a tourniquet after the python inflicted a deep chew wound on his arm. Missing a container sufficiently big to carry such an enormous specimen, Kimmel shot the snake earlier than transporting it again to his boat. For the not-so-faint-of-heart, footage of the seize, together with the chew and ensuing blood loss, might be seen right here.

9. Massive Mama, the Prequel

photo of large snake being wrangled
Caption Florida Fish and Wildlife

Snake hunter Alex Duffie’s 17-foot, 6-inch python got here with a bonus: a clutch of python eggs and hatchlings that had been additionally faraway from the wildlife protect the place they had been discovered. Duffie, a python removing contractor for the South Florida Water Administration District, was trying to find snakes in Massive Cypress Nationwide Protect this previous July when he found a 10-foot python on a nest with 18 hatched and 23 unhatched eggs. After the mom snake, eggs, and hatchlings all had been eliminated, Duffie found one other nest close by, however no snake. He returned the subsequent night time to seek out the mom—a 17-footer he was in a position to subdue with the assistance of some different snake hunters, however not earlier than it took him for a journey. “It was loopy,” he informed ABC Information. “I had my arms wrapped round it and it was dragging me by means of the swamp. It was superior.”

10. Bagged Beast

In response to her Twitter profile, Amy Siewe shouldn’t be solely knowledgeable python hunter serving to get rid of invasive species from South Florida, she’s additionally “saving the Everglades in fashion” by utilizing the python skins to make leather-based merchandise. Her private finest is a 17-foot, 3-inch snake captured in July 2020 that weighed 110 kilos. Siewe says she noticed the python periscoping its head above tall grass. She slipped a bag over its head, then sat on the huge snake as she thought-about her subsequent transfer. She was finally in a position to flag down a few passing python hunters to assist her drag the massive feminine out of the comb.

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