Group of friends break state record by catching Florida’s longest python

(CNN) — A group of Florida friends have made history by capturing the longest python ever measured in the state. This remarkable feat becomes even more amazing as some of the people have never hunted pythons before.

The record-breaking python at 19 feet long and weighing 125 pounds was knocked to the ground by intrepid hunters in a thrilling fight.

The news of this feat reached Ana Valerie, the mother of one of the hunters, via a text message from her son in the middle of the night. The post included a photo of friends posing triumphantly with a massive snake slung over their shoulders.

However, it was the video she received the next morning that really struck her. The footage shows her son Jake bravely lunging at the python, grabbing it singlehandedly.

Jake Whalery, one of the amateur hunters, described a difficult encounter.

“We got into a fight that turned out to be a bit more difficult than we initially expected,” Jake said.

The captured python, a colossal specimen estimated to be around 20 years old, impressed everyone involved.

Stephen Gauta, another hunter who accompanied Jake, expressed his surprise.

“This one just blew my mind when I walked up to it and saw what it had caught,” he said.

The capture was far from easy.

After initial attempts with the net proved ineffective, Jake had to quickly adapt his technique to protect the snake.

“At first I approached him thinking that I could just come up from behind and grab his head like a normal grapple. But then the snake went completely mad. It tried to wrap me around, tried to choke me. And my friends, fortunately, were able to pull it off. And you know, we were able to film this thing safely,” Jake said.

The Southwest Florida Conservancy has confirmed the snake’s size, recognizing it as the longest python ever caught in the state.

Now the conservation organization plans to run tests to gather more information about this impressive creature. There is an assumption that due to its huge size and age, the python may belong to the first or second generation of pythons that migrated to the Big Cypress region.

Once the necessary tests are completed, Jake and Steven will have plans of their own. They aim to create a skull to keep the memory of their outstanding achievement alive. In addition, they intend to donate the body of the python to facilitate further educational opportunities and research.

Steven Gauta emphasized the importance of their contribution.

“We are talking about the first pairs of pythons. And then once you start, it’s like this is only our third year of python hunting, and I think that’s pretty good progress,” he said.

Upon close examination of the snake, it becomes apparent that the python was suffering from malnutrition, as indicated by excess skin and reduced thickness. This discovery suggests that catching the python would have been even more difficult if it had been in optimal condition.

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