Hunter Kills Largest Ever Florida Python

A sportsman participating in a hunt organized by a South Florida water district on invasive Burmese pythons bagged the largest ever on the district’s land.

As announced by the South Florida Water Management District last week, hunter Jason Leon brought in a 132-pound female that went just over 17-feet in length. The man, who chalked up the state record with an 18-foot snake in 2013, said he harvested the latest python at 2:45 a.m. on Dec. 4 along with a smaller male snake that they let go.

“I grabbed her first by the center of the body,” says Leon, “She had her head over wrapped around by the tree. I was able to go ahead and grab her up further on the head. When I had her further on the head I came and took a shot on her right here,” he says, displaying the wound to the animals melon-sized head. A second shot finished off the snake.

SFWMD earlier this year announced a program during which hunters will be paid both for their time spent on the job as well as a bonus for each of the huge snakes bagged. The bounty program pays $50 for each python brought in under four feet in length with an extra $25 tacked on for every additional foot, meaning Leigh could have pocketed $375 from SFWMD for his serpent.

Between March and July, the district paid out nearly $50,000 in hourly fees and bounties to participating hunters who brought in 158 snakes totaling some 3,725 pounds.

According to a recent University of Florida study, pythons have decimated the wildlife indigenous to the state and have accounted for at least 77 percent of the wild rabbit deaths, robbing native predators such as the endangered Florida panther, birds of prey, alligators, and bobcats of their food source. This figure can be even higher in regions with lots of the invasive snakes.

“In areas of heavy python population, there is a 99 percent reduction in fur-bearing animals,” said SFWMD Python Elimination Program Manager Mike Kirkland, who said animals hunters can go on to use the snakes’ skin but their meat cannot be eaten due to high levels of mercury.


  • Cleavis Nowell

    The pythons in South Florida are like the oily reptile governor of California.

    • greennoblework

      I think you’re just a tad confused “Cleavis”. The reptile would be more like your Roy Moore, the just defeated Senate candidate from Alabama.

      • K W

        But you’re a-okay with Al “hypocrite” Franken I bet, Greenbean…

        • RC

          I thought it but you beat me to it.

      • Bill W Cross

        Your “Liberal Ignorance” is blatantly obvious “green bean” as so wisely stated by KW!
        President Trump is working on the snakes in DC & hunters in Florida are getting in done in their swamp!

        • jerry

          Hey Bill, its not a swamp, its a friggin ocean !

      • marcus J

        Doug Jones is the real Reptile in that swamp , Besides not a single baseless allegation was even close to being proven and it has already come out that these slimy Women work for and have been payed by the DNC and the Communist Party formerly known as The Demonic Rats to smear and attack Judge Roy Moore

        • cyberscan

          I hope Roy Moore sues them and the Democratic party if they rigged the allegations and slandered him. I hope he sues for tens of millions. If he can prove he was falsely accused, he needs to make ’em PAY!

  • Scott Loddesol

    why the hell would you let any invasive predator go?

    • L Cavendish

      we see it happen with illegal aliens all the time…

    • Lisa Vacula

      because it was a male.. they dont breed like the females do.. or at least they didnt used to .. but now they might due to all the chemicals in the water..

  • Harold T Sansing

    I wonder also as Mr. Loddesol does, as to why a smaller predator was turned loose. More importantly I think is the presence of Mercury in the python’s flesh. This is an indicator of contamination in the food chain of the Everglades. Better be checking out the other animals that are edible. Note that toxic metals are cumulative and humans are not exempted from this contamination.

  • Alan404

    How did these creatures get to this country in the first place,and what action,if any has been taken against the idiots who brought them into the country, and to officialdom or “officialdumb”, take your choice, who allowed their importation?

    • Lisa Vacula

      These invasives were allowed to be purchased legally and illegally at pet stores.. when they got too big for their tanks, the owners released them into the wild.. and I also have heard at one time, there was a wild reptile sanctuary at one time that either burned down or got flooded that also sent these things into the wild.. so this problem is multifaceted..

      • Kevin Winn

        it was a tornado off a hurricane that demolished a small building with a bunch of snakes that he had in plastic Tupperware down in South Florida and the snakes are thriving

        • Lisa Vacula

          Yes, thank you for the clarification. I knew it was something close to that.

  • Jake

    Why let the male go?

    • Lisa Vacula

      breeding rights.. lol

  • Capn Jack

    I thought this discussion was supposed to be about serpents, not two legged snakes.