19-foot python killed in Florida

19-foot python killed: The huge 19-foot Burmese python is the biggest ever captured in Florida. The giant python wrapped itself around a man's leg before he killed it with a knife.

(AP Photo/University of Florida)
Unidentified University of Florida staff lying next to a dead Burmese python on the campus in Gainesville, Fla. The python, the longest ever caught in the state, measured 18 feet, 8 inches and weighed 128 pounds.

Wildlife officials say a Burmese python nearly 19 feet (5.8 meters) long has been captured in Florida.

It's a new record for the longest Burmese python caught in the wild in Florida. The previous record was a 17-foot-7-inch (5.4 meter) python caught in August in Everglades National Park.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the 18-foot-8-inch (5.7 meter) snake was caught May 11 alongside a road in rural Miami-Dade County.

Wildlife officials said Monday that a Miami man spotted about 3 feet (one meter) of the snake sticking out of the roadside brush. He grabbed it and started dragging it into the open. When the snake began to wrap itself around his leg, he called to his friends for help and then used a knife to kill it.

The python weighed 128 pounds (58 kilograms).

Earlier this year, Florida held a Burmese python hunt. The hunt for Burmese pythons in the Everglades yielded 68 of the invasive snakes, the longest measuring more than 14 feet long, Florida wildlife officials said, according to a report in The Christian Science Monitor.

That might not seem like a success, considering roughly 1,600 people signed up for the state-sponsored Python Challenge that ended Feb. 17, but Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said the hunt may have prevented thousands more pythons from being born in the Everglades.

Female pythons can lay as many as 100 eggs at a time.

Researchers say pythons are eating their way through the Everglades, decimating populations of native mammals. The snakes can grow more than 20 feet in length, and they have no predators, other than the humans desperately trying to control their population.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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