Nature & Environment
Python hunters catch gargantuan 17ft snake in Florida Everglades
By T.K. Randall
November 10, 2023 · 12 comments
The snake was absolutely huge. Image Credit: Facebook / Mike Elfenbein
Mike Elfenbein and colleagues discovered the massive reptile at Big Cypress National Preserve last week.
For most people, coming face to face with a 17ft snake would be enough to send them running, but for python hunters, tracking down and catching such enormous reptiles is all in a day's work.
The Burmese python was first introduced in the Florida Everglades in the 1980s and has since gained a significant foothold, resulting in a major decline in raccoons, opossums and bobcats as well as the near total disappearance of some rabbit and fox species.
Wildlife officials have spent years attempting to remove the reptiles from the region - a feat easier said than done due to their enormous size and seemingly endless numbers.
This most recent specimen, which was initially mistaken for an alligator, was found and caught by five hunters including Mike Elfenbein and his son Cole at Big Cypress National Preserve.
The father-and-son duo had arrived at the scene to see another team of hunters attempting to wrestle with the snake.
"That was when I realized it was either we do something now or this wasn't going to end good," said Elfenbein. "So I grabbed her by the head and my son had her by the tail. We stretched her out across the road and Carter, Holden, and Tray jumped on top of her to try to hold her down."
"She literally lifted us up the ground."
Due to the snake's enormous size and weight, it took all five of them 45 minutes to subdue the beast.
Measuring 17ft in length and weighing in at 198 pounds, the snake is thought to be the second heaviest python ever caught in the state of Florida.
"Of her 198 pounds, 29 pounds of it was pure fat. She was just massive, she was huge," said Elfenbein.
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