Englewood’s 9-foot Burmese python captured Monday wasn’t actually the biggest one bagged in Florida this week.
According to various news reports, a Zolfo Springs family spotted and captured a 16-foot python on their property Sunday.
“Yeah, it’s been an invasive-centered week,” said Adam Brown, a wildlife officer for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“At this time, we have no reason to suspect that the two incidents are related in any way,” Brown said Thursday.
According to various news reports, Aaron Brown — no relation to wildlife officer Brown — was driving with his mother on his family’s property when he spotted a large snake.
“I drove past it and said, ‘That’s a big snake,’” Aaron Brown told Fox 13/Tampa Bay reporters. “I had my mother with me and she said, ‘Well, get out and get it.’ I said, ‘You get out and get it. If that joker catches me, you can’t help me.’”
Capturing the python proved a family affair.
Brown called upon his cousin, William “Bobby” Wilkinson, for help. They shot and killed the snake that lay in a culvert pipe, reports stated. Brown and Wilkinson didn’t realize how long the python was until they pulled it out of the culvert. They also reported it weighed 300 pounds.
“That’s the biggest snake I’ve ever seen,” Wilkinson told reporters.
The Associated Press reported Thursday the Brown family called Dustin Crum, a local snake hunter, who took the snake. Crum said he found 100 eggs inside the animal while he was skinning and examining it.
Crum said he was working to make sure pythons are not migrating north of the Everglades and hopes that this was a “rogue snake.”
The Browns and their cousins are now keeping an eye on the area for any other wayward pythons, AP reported.
Burmese pythons, an invasive species, have caused significant ecological damage in Florida. Wildlife officials have determined pythons established breeding habitats in South Florida from just south of Lake Okeechobee to Key Largo and from Broward County on the East Coast to Collier County on the West Coast.
“While Burmese pythons have been observed or captured outside this area, it does not mean those pythons are part of a breeding, wild population,” officer Adam Brown said.
“Instead, pythons observed or captured well outside the wild population boundary may be animals that are released or that have escaped from captivity,” he said.
Due to the distance from the known established breeding population of pythons in south Florida, the Hardee County python was likely released or escaped from captivity, Brown suggested.
Burmese pythons have been listed as a “conditional species” since 2010 and can no longer be legally possessed as a personal pet.
Python owners can surrender their pets without consequences. Call the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at (1-888-IVEGOT1) or send an email to PetAmnesty@MyFWC.com to surrender the animal into the FWC’s Exotic Pet Amnesty Program with no penalty or cost.
For more information on the FWC’s Exotic Pet Amnesty Program, or to learn more about becoming an adopter in the program, please go to MyFWC.com/Nonnatives.
To learn more about Florida native and invasive wildlife, visit myfwc.com.