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Hunters Capture Florida’s Second-Heaviest Burmese Python on Record

The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Hunters Capture Florida’s Second-Heaviest Burmese Python on Record

Posted 2023-11-29  by  Stephanie Mallory

The massive snake measured 17 feet, 2 inches long and weighed 198 pounds

It took five men to hold up what turned out to be the second-heaviest Burmese python ever captured in Florida.

Mike Elfenbein, one of the hunters who took down the giant snake at Big Cypress National Preserve in South Florida, told Fox 35 News, "I had her by the head. Her head was the size of a football. My son grabbed her by the tail. And the other three guys all piled on in the middle. And with all five of us sitting on top of her, she was still literally able to lift her body off the ground and keep moving.

"It was crazy..."

Elfenbein, his son Cole, and three other guys they had just met came across this giant snake in the road at the exact same time.

“And it was a good thing we did because it literally took all five of us to get her under control," Elfenbein said.

At first, Elfenbein said it looked more like an alligator the way car headlights were shining on the snake, casting a shadow.

"It was surreal," he added. "I don't even think we recognized she was that big when we put hands on her."

The massive Burmese python measured 17 feet, 2 inches long, 23 inches in girth, and weighed 198 pounds, making it the second-heaviest Burmese python captured in Florida.

"It took every bit of energy we had to do this," he said.

Elfenbein said he and his son are keeping the skull, which is currently being processed before being put in a display.

Elfenbein said he's not an expert python hunter, but someone trying to help get this invasive species under control.

"I'm not looking to compete with anybody. … I'm not in the Python Challenge. I'm not a contractor," Elfenbein said. "I'm just a guy trying to do something good. That's all."

Burmese pythons have established a breeding population in South Florida and are one of the most concerning invasive species in Everglades National Park. Pythons compete with native wildlife for food, which includes mammals, birds, and other reptiles.

Elfenbein, a long-time conservationist in Florida, wants to encourage others to do good, too if they come across an invasive python.

"Do something; don't do nothing," he said. "Someone call FWC. If you're not comfortable, park your car on top of it. … Make every effort you can to ensure that if you don't have the ability or wherewithal or desire to catch one that you do everything within your power to find someone who is willing to do so."

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