'It took five of us': What we know about massive Burmese python caught in Florida (2024)

A massive Burmese python was caught in the Big Cypress Preserve recently.

A team of python hunters, led by conservationist Mike Elfenbein, caught the large snake as it was crossing a road on Nov. 3.

The python was taken to theConservancy of Southwest Florida, where it measured 17 feet, 2 inches long and weighed in at a whopping 198 pounds, making it the second-heaviest Burmese python ever captured in Florida.

"Officially 17’2” & 198 Pounds. This snake ate a lot of native wildlife to get this big. She ate her last meal! It took five of us to control her; glad to have removed her from our Everglades where she can no longer eat our wildlife," Elfenbein said in an Instagram post.

'It took five of us': What we know about massive Burmese python caught in Florida (1)

The heaviest ever was caught in 2022 in the western Everglades by a team of biologists with the help of a male "scout" snake outfitted with a radio transmitter. It weighed 215 pounds and was nearly 18 feet long.

Amy Siewe, also known as "The Python Huntress," told CBS News that she received a call from Elfenbein and hurried to the scene. In an Instagram post, Siewe said the python was "the fattest python I have ever seen."

Burmese pythons have put a stranglehold on Florida's wildlife. They can swim, burrow and climb trees, and they eat almost anything.

What is the average weight of Burmese pythons?

The average weight of wild Burmese pythons is 30 to 165 pounds for females and 15 to 33 pounds for males, according to the reference and education content website ThoughtCo.

'It took five of us': What we know about massive Burmese python caught in Florida (2)

What is the longest Burmese python ever captured?

The longest python ever measured was caught in July near Naples. It was caught in the Big Cypress National Preserve in eastern Collier County in July 2023.

The snake was measured by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples and came in at a whopping 19 feet.

Record python nest:Burmese python nest in Florida Everglades filled with record-breaking 111 eggs

Who is 'Python Huntress' Amy Siewe?

Amy Siewe makes a living as a professional Burmese python hunter.

Siewe was working in real estate in Indianapolis and looking for a career change when she visited Florida in 2019 and took part in a python hunt, according to previous News-Press reports.

Two months later she moved to the Sunshine State and now lives in Naples.

Siewe, also known as "Python Huntress," now hosts guided python hunts and has killed the snakes as a government contractor, including participating in the annual Florida Python Challenge.

'It took five of us': What we know about massive Burmese python caught in Florida (3)

Are Burmese pythons still a problem in Florida?

Burmese pythons are an invasive species established across more than a thousand square miles of south Florida, including Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve and Collier-Seminole State Forest.

The constrictors have few predators and prey on native species, eating just about anything from field mice to deer. According to a 2012 study, they've contributed to the decline of raccoons, opossums, bobcats, foxes, and marsh and cottontail rabbits.

Invasive species in your backyard:Southwest Florida’s most wanted includes giant snails

How much do you get paid for pythons in Florida?

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission contracts with qualified private individuals to remove pythons.

Contractors are paid hourly — $13 or $18, depending on the area — for removal efforts. Additionally, freelancers earn $50 for each python up to 4 feet long, plus $25 for each additional foot. They also receive $200 per nest removal field-verified by FWC.

Online applications are accepted year-round.

What is the Florida Python Challenge and how many snakes were caught in 2023?

The Florida Python Challenge is a 10-day FWC event to remove the invasive predators from south Florida's ecosystem. Participants are eligible to win money prizes in various categories.

During the 2023 contest, 1,050 participants removed 209 Burmese pythons.

What do you do if you catch a Burmese python in Florida?

Permit holders, python removal contractors, and FWC and South Florida Water Management District staff can transport live pythons for euthanization at a later point. Everyone else must humanely kill the snakes at the capture location, according to FCW.

Reptiles not native to Florida are not protected in the state except by anti-cruelty law. The animals must be humanely killed. Shooting Burmese pythons is allowed as long as state and local firearms rules are followed and the animal loses consciousness immediately. The animal's brain should then be destroyed by pithing to prevent it from regaining consciousness, according to FWC.

Is python meat edible? Do people eat Burmese python eggs?

Python meat and skin can be kept and sold, according to FWC. Burmese pythons removed from the Everglades were tested and found to have high amounts of mercury. Mercury is a neurotoxin that can impair brain functioning and damage the reproductive system.

While it's not illegal to eat python meat, the FWC cautioned that neither the Florida Department of Health nor the Florida Department of Agriculture have stated that it's safe.

Water management district python hunter Donna Kalil told the Palm Beach Post in 2020 that she eats python a few times a year and shared how she prepares python meat and eggs.

'It took five of us': What we know about massive Burmese python caught in Florida (5)

How did the Burmese python get to Florida?

Burmese pythons made their home in the Florida Everglades after the accidental or intentional release of pet animals.

Support local journalismbysubscribing to aFlorida news organization.

'It took five of us': What we know about massive Burmese python caught in Florida (2024)


What is the heaviest Burmese python caught in Florida? ›

The heaviest Burmese python that has been caught was a 215-pound, 17.7-foot female python in December 2021. That snake was captured by Ian Bartoszek with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

What does Florida do with captured Burmese pythons? ›

As the pythons are a regulated species, they cannot be transported alive. Florida's python agents are trained to kill the reptiles using a bolt gun. The programme, which was launched in 2017, has captured and euthanised 7,330 pythons so far.

Are there 20 ft Burmese pythons? ›

Burmese pythons are large constrictors that can grow to over 20 feet in length, although those caught in Florida are generally between 6 and 10 feet long. As adults, they are larger than almost all native snakes. Typical Burmese pythons are tan in color with dark blotches along the back and sides.

Has anyone been killed by a Burmese python in Florida? ›

No, there have been no reported incident of a Python attacking a human. Snakes do not attack people, they defend themselves if engaged. Florida should just leave the Berms alone and let them have the swamp. There was a case where a pet Python 8′ escaped and attacked a child in a crib.

What kills a Burmese python? ›

Air guns and captive bolts may be used to humanely kill pythons at any time of day or night. Air guns may not be used for the take of any native wildlife at night. Manual tools require a human application of force, compared to mechanical tools which are powered by cartridges, compressed air or other mechanisms.

What is the largest snake ever found in Florida? ›

The longest python captured in Florida measured 19 feet and weighed 125 pounds, Bartoszek said. Remains of white-tailed deer hooves were found in the python's stomach, a reminder, Bartoszek said, that these snakes "are big game hunters." "We often see the remains of deer inside pythons.

What eats pythons in Florida? ›

FWC: In Florida, smaller pythons like hatchlings and juveniles are more susceptible than adults to become prey of native birds or mammals. Because of their large size, adult Burmese pythons have few predators, with humans being the exception. They prey upon native species and may reduce their populations locally.

Does Florida pay for captured pythons? ›

There is no bag limit. The FWC does not offer compensation for pythons except to contracted members of the PATRIC Program and winners during the Florida Python Challenge®.

Why do they catch pythons alive in the Everglades? ›

Sometimes, scientists ask to get the pythons alive so that they can be tracked. Hunters like Crum deposit them in designated drop boxes during night hunts and email researchers to come get them in the morning. Pythons became popular exotic pets in the U.S. in the '70s.

Are there anacondas in Florida? ›

Anacondas were first introduced to the wild in Florida via the pet trade as early as 2004. Females give birth to an average of 28 to 42 live offspring every other year. Considered apex predators, FWC said green anacondas could cause similar, if not more severe, adverse impacts to native wildlife than Burmese pythons.

What is the largest snake ever found alive? ›

Green anacondas are the world's heaviest snakes, according to the UK's Natural History Museum, which noted that the heaviest individual ever recorded weighed 227 kilograms (500 pounds). It measured 8.43 meters long (27.7 feet) and 1.11 meters (3.6 feet) wide.

What is the lifespan of a Burmese python? ›

Lifespan. Burmese pythons live about 30 years in the wild.

Why don't they just shoot the pythons in Florida? ›

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, these pythons pose such a big threat that hunters and residents alike don't need a permit to kill them. The reptiles are, however, protected by anti-cruelty laws, which require hunters to humanely kill the snakes.

What happens if a Burmese python bites you? ›


Small individuals are not generally dangerous to people or pets. However, larger Burmese Pythons have large, sharp teeth, and their bites can cause severe lacerations. Large animals are also fully capable of eating dogs and cats. Virtually all bites occur when the snakes are intentionally bothered.

How strong is a Burmese python bite? ›

Burmese pythons are non-venomous, but they pack a powerful bite. The snakes can have up to 100 teeth, which are extremely sharp and curved. A bite from one could cause puncture wounds, and if its deep enough, could cause internal damage.

Was the 19 foot Burmese python found in Florida? ›

It was caught on Monday by 22-year-old Jake Waleri, who brought the python to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in his hometown of Naples, the conservancy said. Officials there measured the snake at 19 feet and 125 pounds, and said it set a new world record for length.

How big do Burmese pythons get in Florida? ›

The Burmese python is one of the largest snakes in the world. Adult Burmese pythons caught in Florida average between 1.8 m (6 ft) and 2.7 m (9 ft); the largest Burmese captured in Florida measured over 5.4 m (18 ft) in length. Burmese pythons are tan in color with dark blotches along the back and sides.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rubie Ullrich

Last Updated:

Views: 5961

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rubie Ullrich

Birthday: 1998-02-02

Address: 743 Stoltenberg Center, Genovevaville, NJ 59925-3119

Phone: +2202978377583

Job: Administration Engineer

Hobby: Surfing, Sailing, Listening to music, Web surfing, Kitesurfing, Geocaching, Backpacking

Introduction: My name is Rubie Ullrich, I am a enthusiastic, perfect, tender, vivacious, talented, famous, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.