Florida man catches 19-foot Burmese python

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A Florida man caught a 19-foot (nearly six meter) Burmese python, believed to be a record for the southern US state.

Jake Waleri, 22, nabbed the snake on Monday at Big Cypress National Preserve while out hunting for the invasive species, a pursuit incentivized by the state.

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In a video posted on Instagram, Waleri is seen grabbing the snake by the tail at the side of a road.

The snake then lunges for Waleri and tries to bite him as he grabs it by the neck, its mouth open wide. They wres-tle for a while on the ground, until a friend helps Waleri subdue the creature, which weighed 125 pounds (56.6 kilos.)

These snakes are not venomous but they do have large, sharp teeth and dangerous bites.

Waleri took this particular snake to the headquarters of an NGO called the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in the city of Naples, on the Gulf of Mexico.

The organization measured and weighed the beast and declared it a record for Florida.

Burmese pythons were originally brought to the United States as pets from Southeast Asia.

They have become a menace in south Florida since people released some of them into the Everglades in the 1970s. They have no natural enemy to keep their numbers in check.

The snakes feed on other reptiles, birds, and mammals like racoons or deer. They can grow to be six meters long, experts say.

To protect the local ecosystem, the state of Florida pays hunters to catch and kill such snakes.

The state also holds a yearly contest for amateur python hunters with a $2,500 prize.

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