Video shows Burmese python wrestling alligator at Big Cypress

Palm Beach Post reporter captures underwater wrestling match

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Derek Shore - Reporter

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - A South Florida reporter shared a video of a python wrestling an alligator in the water at Big Cypress National Preserve that is going viral.

The wrestling match was captured by Palm Beach Post reporter Joe Capozzi while he was on a bicycle ride at the national park.

Capozzi wrote that he saw one big splash after another and stopped to see what was happening.

That's when he witnessed a gator sparring with a Burmese python.

"I remember seeing a hind leg with a claw and his tail rising up out of the water," Capozzi said. "All of a sudden, the gator would put a fight up again and it would surface to the water, and (it was) just twirling and twisting and the tail (was) flapping."

Capozzi said the fight lasted about 15 minutes.

It looked like the python won.

Frank Mazzotti, a researcher with the University of Florida, said the video highlights how invasive pythons are to the Everglades ecosystem. 

The Burmese python is not a native creature of Florida, but instead are believed to have been released into the wild by people.

Famous photos from 2005 show a 13-foot python accidentally killing itself by eating a 6-foot alligator and bursting open.

"Pythons can clearly cause damage to native wildlife," Mazzotti said. "They can eat our top predator. They have been very closely linked to declines of native populations of mammals."