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Record-setting python killed by knife-wielding Miami man

Photo courtesy of Jason Leon, left, and Associated Press/University of Florida

Jason Leon, left, gathers up a massive Burmese python he killed while riding late at night in a rural area of southeast Miami-Dade County. The snake turned out to be 18 feet, 8 inches, the longest Burmese python ever captured in the wild in Florida. At right, unidentified staff from the University of Florida pose next to the creature, which university scientists found was 128 pounds and female, not carrying eggs at the time.

Photo courtesy of Jason Leon, left, and Associated Press/University of Florida Jason Leon, left, gathers up a massive Burmese python he killed while riding late at night in a rural area of southeast Miami-Dade County. The snake turned out to be 18 feet, 8 inches, the longest Burmese python ever captured in the wild in Florida. At right, unidentified staff from the University of Florida pose next to the creature, which university scientists found was 128 pounds and female, not carrying eggs at the time.

Say you're riding along late at night in rural southeast Miami-Dade County and you see a big python coming out of the brush.

You (a) scream, swerve and punch the gas or (b) stop the car, grab the snake and start pulling.

Meet Jason Leon of Miami, who answered (b) and wound up with the longest Burmese python ever captured in Florida. It measured 18 feet, 8 inches. The python was a 128-pound female that was not carrying eggs, according to University of Florida scientists who examined the snake. The previous record length for a Burmese python captured in the wild in Florida was 17 feet, 7 inches, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which issued a news release about the snake's capture.

Here's how it happened, according to the report:

On May 11, Leon and his passenger saw the python as they were riding along. About 3 feet of the snake was sticking out of the roadside brush. Leon stopped his car, grabbed the snake behind its head and started dragging it out of the brush.

When the snake began to wrap itself around his leg, he called for assistance from others and used a knife to kill it. Leon, the report said, once owned Burmese pythons as pets and has experience handling the nonvenomous constrictor species.

Leon reported his python capture to the FWC and the python was turned over to the University of Florida's Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, where a necropsy was performed.

The public is asked to report sightings — unless you have extensive python wrangling experience — of exotic species to IveGot1.org or 888-IveGot1. There is also a free smartphone app: IVEGOT1.

Record-setting python killed by knife-wielding Miami man 05/20/13 [Last modified: Monday, May 20, 2013 11:46pm]
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