Big python bagged at Big Cypress National Preserve

Almost 18-foot snake weighs in at 121 pounds; part of Florida removal incentive

By Jeff Weinsier - Investigative Reporter, Michelle F. Solomon - Podcast Producer/Reporter
Courtesy of FWC

George Perkins shows off the 17-foot python he caught at Big Cypress National Preserve.

DAVIE, Fla. - George Perkins  didn't sleep for 36 hours after bagging a 17-foot, 9-inch Burmese python. "It is indescribable. I thought I was prepared, but when it happens, it's an adrenaline rush."

Perkins, a member of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Python Action Team since March and a self-proclaimed "big hunter," said wrestling the almost 18-footer beats any other hunting experience he's had in his three decades of hunting in the Everglades.

Perkins captured the snake from the Big Cypress National Preserve and then delivered it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's office in Davie.

According to the FWC's Facebook page, the commission had just shared a story earlier in the day about another team member nabbing the second largest python in the action team's history. Then came Perkins' catch.

The hunter was caught by surprise by the length of the snake.

"Basically, I grabbed the head, and I thought I was going to be dealing with a 10 to 12-foot snake, but then I started to do the walk to get it stretched out to see what I had and get it under control. I was like, 'Oh, my goodness.'"

Perkins said it took him about 20 minutes to subdue the snake.

"Then I had to lay on it once it was down until another contractor got there to help me bag it," Perkins said,  "and that took another half-hour just to get it in the bag."

The python wasn't going to go easily. Several times, it did try to wrap itself around its captor, but because of the reptile's weight, Perkins was able to keep it under control.

"Every time she tried to get up on me, I was able to give her a shrug, and her body weight just pulled her back down," Perkins said. 

FWC stated that although the two pythons caught were the same size, Perkins' prize was wider, weighing in at 121 pounds: 40 pounds heavier than the one earlier in the day.

According to FWC, team members have removed 147 invasive snakes in the month of August.

Perkins is ready to bag another. He told Local 10 News that he was supposed to go out hunting for the deer season opener this weekend.

"Weather permitting, I may go get snakes instead," Perkins said. 

Earlier in August, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the state was expanding its efforts to eradicate the invasive pythons in the Everglades by doubling its resources for python removal.

Want to be part of the Python Action Team? http://bit.ly/2XEPJiD

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