Miami -- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says it's a record-setting catch.
A Miami man reportedly caught and killed an 18'8" Burmese python, the largest ever found in the state of Florida.
The FWC says on May 11, Jason Leon was riding late at night in a rural area of Miami-Dade County when he and his passenger spotted about three feet of python sticking out of the roadside brush.
Leon got out of his car, grabbed the snake behind its head and started dragging it out. He called for help when the python began wrapping around his leg, and used a knife to kill the snake.
Leon reportedly once owned pythons as pets and has experience handling the large reptiles.
University of Florida scientists examined the snake, and say it was a 128-pound female, and was not carrying eggs. The previous record for the longest python caught in the wild in Florida was a 17-foot-7-inch, 164 ½-pound python caught in August in Everglades National Park.
Pythons are an invasive species in Florida, where researchers believe they are eating their way through populations of native mammals in the Everglades. No one knows exactly how many pythons there are here, but the population likely developed from pets released into the wild.
Florida now prohibits owning or selling pythons for use as pets, and federal law bans importation and interstate sale of the species.
The public is asked to report sightings of exotic species to IveGot1.org or 888-IveGot1. There is also a free smartphone app: IVEGOT1.
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