HomeOutdoorsNewsSnake hunter filmed capturing 60-pound Burmese python in Florida

Snake hunter filmed capturing 60-pound Burmese python in Florida

by Caitlin Berard
Burmese python similar to individual filmed in Florida
(Photo by Lunatic_67 via Getty Images)

In the good ol’ days (before the exotic pet trade boom of the ’80s), the only creatures you had to worry about in the Florida Everglades were alligators, rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, panthers, a few species of venomous spiders, and the occasional crocodile. You know, the usual suspects. These days, however, a trip to the Everglades might also include an encounter with one of the largest snakes in the world: the Burmese python.

The pythons’ introduction into the Everglades was through no fault of their own – we promise they didn’t swim from Thailand to southern Florida themselves.

Unfortunately, though, now that they have been introduced, they’re wreaking havoc on, well, everything. The invasive predators have sent the natural balance of the ecosystem into chaos, competing with native wildlife for food and causing severe declines in populations.

As regrettable as it is, especially for reptile enthusiasts such as myself, there’s nothing to do about the Burmese pythons in the Everglades but destroy them. Enter snake hunters like Mike Kimmel, better known as Python Cowboy.

In one of his most recent expeditions, Kimmel successfully captured a female measuring slightly below 13 feet in length and weighing just over 60 pounds. The entire nail-biting hunt was filmed and posted to YouTube, where it quickly went viral.

Those like Kimmel, a wildlife rescuer and invasive species trapper, work to rid the Everglades of the invasive Burmese python. The odds, however, are stacked against them.

More than 2,000 pythons have been captured since 2005, but the still-exploding population could be as high as 300,000 individuals.

Still, Kimmel and his fellow snake hunters scour the Everglades night after night in search of the colossal constrictors.

Snake hunter subdues ‘absolute monster’ of a Burmese python

In this particular hunt, Kimmel was on his way home after what he thought was failed hunt. But as he drove past a patch of thick vegetation, he spotted the “absolute monster” on the move.

Leaping out of his truck to make the capture, Kimmel knew he had a fight on his hands. “These snakes especially one this large, they’re very powerful—they’re solid muscle,” the snake hunter told Newsweek.

“I’m kind of handling it in such a way where I’m letting the snake tire itself out. That way, when I go for the grab, it’s a little easier to work with.”

Sadly, Burmese pythons discovered in the Everglades have to be put down. That said, there’s a proper and improper way to go about it.

Though the snake can’t live, it’s important not to cause any unnecessary harm or suffering, either. “I use a .22 pistol and basically shoot it directly in the brain,” Kimmel said.

“People lose snakes every year because they’re not comfortable with grabbing them, and they try to shoot them and they don’t hit the brain perfectly and the snake gets away,” he said. “For me, it’s a very big deal that I don’t lose a snake and they’re euthanized humanely.”

There’s a long and difficult road ahead for those like Kimmel attempting to restore balance in the Everglades. The effects of their efforts, however, are already noticeable.

“In the areas that we’ve been, I think we’ve been seeing the native wildlife start to bounce back,” the snake hunter said. “It shows that management is possible and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But it’s not going to be easy.”