A 19-foot python killed in Florida on May 11 by Jason Leon fired up the debate on invasive species when a new record for Florida’s largest-ever Burmese python was revealed in photos yesterday published to Facebook by the official Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) website.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, the record-smashing snake was a stunning 18 feet eight inches long — just shy of 19 feet. It weighed 128 pounds — more than most children and many women, this writer included.
It’s the largest ever python to be taken in the state and it clearly represented a public danger. Pythons are powerful constrictors that can kill a man.
With no natural predators, they can also take on Florida’s native wildlife — and win. One of the most popular wildlife YouTube videos of all time, with almost 32 million viewers, shows a python killing and eating an alligator.
So a 19-foot python is absolutely no joke, and the FWC posted a public thank you to Jason Leon for removing and reporting the animal. Leon spotted the huge snake from his ATV in the Everglades swamp in Miami-Dade County.
Armed only with a knife, the 23-year-old could have chosen to simply keep driving.
Instead, he and his friend, petite Veronica Larios, decided to do something about it. Leon, assisted by Larios, stopped the snake from coiling around his body and eventually succeeded in killing the animal.
Now, I’m not saying that you and I should try this at home. Despite his youth, Leon is a knowledgeable herptile owner who has kept two pet snakes himself. He recognized the python and understood the risks.
“I knew that it was a big snake…I knew it didn’t belong there. I knew they had to be removed so I grabbed it,” he explained to NBC Miami.
Leon himself said that one expert told him that he should have battled the record-smashing 19-foot python with “at least four or five other males,” not one small woman. However, he’s proud of Larios for being so stand-up:
“Like 90 percent of my guy friends would have stood back and said, ‘Nuh-uh! Not doing it.'”
Here’s that video of a (smaller!) python eating a gator so that you can understand what Leon was battling:
NBC Miami has also posted an astounding video taken by a friend that shows Leon and Larios catching and killing the 19-foot python.
[19-foot python photo courtesy MyFWC via Facebook]