Two Florida men took down a 300-pound, 16-foot-long Burmese python on their family’s property near Tampa this week, setting the record for the largest snake ever recorded in the town of Zolfo Springs.
Aaron Brown spotted the python on the side of a road and contacted his cousin William Wilkerson to ask for help with it, Fox 13 reported. After managing to trap and shoot the reptile, the duo learned it was 16 feet, 4 inches long, weighing hundreds of pounds.
“Once we got him pulled out, it was like, ‘My God! What a snake!'” Wilkerson told the news outlet. “We measured him and laid him down and the two kids down beside him to get a rough idea and ended up finding a tape measure.”
The pair gave the animal to snake hunter Dustin Crum, who skinned it and reportedly found 100 eggs inside.
“We are down in the Everglades trying to stop these pythons from migrating further north in all directions,” Crum told Fox 13. “Hopefully this is a rogue snake and they haven’t migrated this far north. These boys stopped an invasion by eliminating a big breeding snake like that.”
Last week, trapper Mike Kimmel, known as the Python Cowboy in the Sunshine State, appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight to address the python problem in Florida.
Kimmel said there are several programs already in place, but getting the public involved in hunting and removal will take solving the problem to the next level.
When asked about how difficult hunting pythons in Florida is, Kimmel said, “I generally go out there for three to five days at a time. I’m sleeping in the swamp. And I’m hunting these invasive snakes either by boat or in my customized truck or I’m driving these levees that stretch out into the swamp and I’m looking for these snakes while they’re hunting for our native wildlife.”
Kimmel said he uses his hands to capture the snakes alive, noting it’s the “safest and most humane way to do it.” The Python Cowboy said he sneaks up on the reptiles and grabs them, at which point it becomes a wrestling match.
During a recent hunt, Kimmel said he was bitten by an 18-foot, 135 pound snake, reiterating the difficulty of the task.
“Yes, you know, sometimes a job gets a little messy, a little dangerous and it’s just a part of it. Recently, capturing a big almost 18- foot python, 135 pounds and it struck at me. I was able to dodge it strike, but it gave me another quick half strike. I wasn’t expecting it. These older snakes, they are smart. They know what they’re doing,” Kimmel told Carlson. “And it got me pretty good on my arm. Actually, it got a couple of main veins. I think it just missed an artery, but I had a little bit of a gusher coming out of my arm.”
“It’s definitely not easy,” Kimmel said. “It’s a labor of love. You know, it’s something you’ve got to be passionate about something, you know, to kind of have motivation for.”