Allow us to present the most Florida thing we’ve ever seen: a man wearing a “Don’t tread on me” hat while wrestling a python in the wild.
The video, uploaded to YouTube by ViralHog, identifies the snake wrestler as Dustin and says the snake was 15.7 feet long.
“Me and Dustin were on our first outing together and after a few hours of looking Dustin finally saw something. He caught a 15.7-foot python!” the man said.
They saw something alright.
Take a closer look at that snake.
At the end of the video, the python is loaded into a box and locked away.
The Houston Chronicle identified the man in full as Dustin Crum.
Crum said he saw something shimmer and pounced.
“I was driving by and caught a shimmer of something,” he said. “I thought it was an empty water bottle or something reflecting off the sun. When I stopped, I could see it was a big snake.”
“It’s a battle with heavy weights. The snake is all strong, 130 pounds of muscle,” he continued. “I didn’t know it was going to be that big, it was fairly fat, but I didn’t know it was going to be 16 10. I was blown away.”
They found that 78 eggs inside the python called the largest ever caught in the Everglades.
As we’ve noted in the past, pythons have been challenging the ecosystem of the Everglades for more than a decade.
Here’s what the National Park Service has said about pythons in the Everglades in recent years:
In recent years, snakes from around the world have been turning up in and around Everglades National Park. Burmese pythons, one of the largest snake species on earth, are now known to be breeding in the park and spreading throughout south Florida. Originally from southeast Asia, Burmese pythons are now frequently found in south Florida. More than 2,000 pythons have been removed from the park and surrounding areas since 2002, likely representing only a fraction of the total population.
The population of Burmese pythons presently established in the park is the result of accidental and/or intentional releases by pet owners. These introductions can have devastating consequences to our ecosystem. Burmese pythons have been found to feed on a wide variety of mammals and birds in the Everglades — even the occasional alligator! By preying on native wildlife and competing with other native predators, pythons are seriously impacting the natural order of south Florida’s ecological communities. The continued proliferation of Burmese pythons — and the continued introduction of new foreign species — can further threaten many of the endangered plants and animals we’re working diligently to protect.