• Man catches 'record-breaking' 18-foot python in Everglades

    By: Ann Smajstrla, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:
    ORLANDO, Fla. -

    A Florida man caught what he says is the longest-ever Burmese python to be captured in the Everglades.

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    John Hammond caught the 18-foot snake Sunday morning in the Everglades, he told Bay News 9. He said he was deep in the Everglades when he saw the snake.

    “So I grabbed its head, got wrapped up from the waist down and we fell over, and we laid there for about 30 minutes or so,” said Hammond. “And I had her head – that face – there the whole time while she was constricting me from the waist down.”

    Hammond told the TV station that he and about 50 other catchers are trying to remove pythons from the Everglades for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

    Burmese pythons are considered an invasive species in the Everglades, according to the FWCC website. The snakes have few predators and prey on native mammal species. It's not clear how Burmese pythons were introduced to the Everglades, but it's possible some escaped from a breeding facility that was destroyed during Hurricane Andrew in 1992, according to the FWCC.

    “They were never down there when we were kids,” said Hammond of the snake species.

    Hammond said he and other catchers have removed thousands of the pythons from the Everglades in the last 18 months.

    Hammond will likely skin the snake and put the skin on display in his store in Winter Park, he said.

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