A hunter sitting in his truck spotted a conspicuous shadow in a Florida swamp and did something a little crazy: He jumped in the muddy water and grabbed it.
The shape proved to be exactly what he suspected — an invasive Burmese python — and video posted Jan. 30 shows it was angry and vicious.
Lasting just under 2 minutes, the recording shows what amounts to a dance, with the ”feisty” snake whipping and twisting its body in the air while veteran wildlife trapper Mike Kimmel twirls to dodge its jaws.
“I was eating cookies In the truck when I spotted this python trying to sneak away,” Kimmel says.
“I don’t like to go right for the head when they’re in the water, just cause it’s easy to miss and they’re gone. I can grab their tails and once I got their tails, they ain’t going nowhere.”
The snake was as long as Kimmel is tall, but it qualified as small in Florida. The longest documented in the state is 19 feet, according to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
Kimmel, known as the Python Cowboy, is a wildlife trapper participating in the ongoing struggle to bring the invasive snake population under control in South Florida.
Burmese pythons are native to southeast Asia, but were introduced to Florida as part of the exotic pet trade, experts say. Some of the snakes were freed by their owners while others escaped, leading to a breeding population in the Everglades.
Surveys of python stomachs at the University of Florida have revealed they are eating more than 24 species of mammal, 47 species of bird and three reptile species in South Florida, the conservancy of Southwest Florida reports.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission advises humanely killing pythons caught in the wild.
Kimmel did not give a location for where he caught the python, but noted it was a stroke of luck that he spotted it in the dark.
“I’ve spent days out there and not found anything,” he wrote on Facebook.
‘Swamp justice’? Cyclist crosses paths with gator eating python in Florida Everglades
Python shows up at private beach club in Florida and gets subdued with golf clubs
Two bears unique to Alaska found wandering Florida Panhandle. How did they get there?