NAPLES, FLORIDA – Local hunters made a groundbreaking discovery this week in South Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve, capturing a Burmese python measuring a staggering 19 feet in length. This record-breaking find is equivalent to the height of an adult giraffe.
The python, which weighed in at 125 pounds, was caught by 22-year-old Jake Waleri. He later transported the reptile to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples for official measurement and documentation. The Conservancy confirmed that the snake set a new world record for its length.
A dramatic video shared on Instagram showcased the python’s aggressive nature, lunging at Waleri as he attempted to control it. The footage displayed a tense moment where Waleri wrestled with the snake before receiving assistance from bystanders.
Burmese pythons, native to Southeast Asia, have become a significant concern in Florida due to their invasive nature. These reptiles have been decimating local wildlife populations, given the absence of natural predators in the region. Their diet ranges from small animals like rabbits to larger prey such as white-tailed deer. In a shocking incident in 2022, scientists extracted a 5-foot-long alligator from the stomach of an 18-foot python.
Jake Waleri, reflecting on his monumental catch, expressed his commitment to preserving South Florida’s ecosystem. “It’s awesome to be able to make an impact on South Florida’s environment,” he remarked.
The previous record for the longest python was set in 2020, with a snake measuring 18-feet-9-inches. However, the heaviest python ever recorded weighed an astounding 215 pounds, captured by the Conservancy in June 2022.
To address the python menace, Florida has initiated the Florida Python Challenge, an annual competition that encourages both professional hunters and amateurs to capture and humanely euthanize these invasive reptiles. The challenge offers substantial prize money, with rewards ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.
As the state continues its efforts to control the python population, this recent capture serves as a stark reminder of the challenges Florida faces in preserving its native wildlife.