A Florida python hunter snagged a record-breaking snake last Friday.
After finding the 17’1” (5.2 m) python submerged in water at around 2:45 Friday morning, Jason Leon managed to pull the 132-lbs. (59 kg) snake out of the water before killing her.
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“Got her out, shot her right in the head while I was holding her,” Leon said Monday in a video released by the South Florida Water Management District.
“We’re going to find a 20-footer tonight,” Leon joked in the video.
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The massive python was the biggest so far in the district hunt established as a way to to raise the profile of the spread of the invasive species. The Miami Herald reports the snakes are in part to blame for diminishing the population of small mammals, including marsh rabbits and raccoons.
Leon also holds the state record for the biggest ever python kill. In 2013, he bagged a 18’8” python.
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Leon’s district record tops Dustin “Wildman” Crum’s record, 16’11”, which was set on Nov. 1.
Since March, the program has eradicated more than 700 snakes in on District lands in Miami-Dade, Broward and Collier counties, which, if laid out end to end, would measure over 1.4 km and weigh over 4,500 kilos.
The python hunters are paid just $8.10 per hour for their work plus bonuses. They get an extra $50 for each python up to four feet and another $25 for each foot above that mark. So in total, the snake was worth $375.