Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man who killed longest Florida python gets its snakeskin

Jason Leon says the 18-foot python he killed has a beautiful pattern and colors.

Courtesy of Jason Leon

Jason Leon says the 18-foot python he killed has a beautiful pattern and colors.

PALMETTO BAY — The South Florida man who caught and killed the longest Burmese python ever found in Florida gets to keep the snakeskin.

Jason Leon of Palmetto Bay saw a few feet of the snake sticking out of some bushes alongside a rural Miami-Dade County road on May 11. When Leon pulled the snake out into the open, it turned out to be 18 feet, 8 inches long.

Leon killed the 128-pound snake with a knife when it began to wrap around his legs. He reported his find to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Wildlife officials have returned a roughly 18-foot-long snakeskin to Leon. The snake's skeleton is being preserved by University of Florida researchers.

Leon tells WSVN-TV that he plans to have the snakeskin preserved so that he can mount it on a wall. He says he's awed by its colors.

"Look at the pattern on that snake," he said. "I see God's creation, I guess, an artist."

Leon used to own pythons as pets. He says he wishes he could have kept the one he pulled out of the bushes, but keeping its hide is the next best thing.

"It's a beautiful snake," Leon said. "I know they're an invasive species, but I don't know, I wanted to bring it back."

Researchers believe pythons are decimating populations of native mammals in the Everglades. Florida now prohibits owning or selling pythons for use as pets, and federal law bans importation and interstate sale of the species.

The previous record for the longest python caught in the wild in Florida was a 17-foot-7-inch, 164 1/2-pound python caught in August in Everglades National Park.

Man who killed longest Florida python gets its snakeskin 05/25/13 [Last modified: Saturday, May 25, 2013 9:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries

    Blogs

    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.
  3. In live debate, Kriseman and Baker ask St. Pete: Is the city better off?

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience during the City of St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg on Tuesday evening. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Romano: It all comes down to sewage in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    At Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman said responsibility lies on him regarding the sewage crisis.
  5. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.