It took the combined force of five Florida python hunters to subdue a colossal Burmese python, as the species threatens native wildlife and continues to disrupt the state’s ecosystems.
Mike Elfenbein, Carter Gavlock and three other hunters — including Elfenbein’s teenage son, Cole — caught the python in the Big Cypress National Preserve Friday evening.
Measuring 17 feet, two inches long and 198 pounds, she was the second heaviest captured in the state.
The remains of a deer, including its hooves, were found in its stomach.
“A new personal best,” Elfenbein proclaimed on Facebook. “This snake ate a lot of native wildlife to get to this size.” She ate her last meal!
A team of five, including conservationist Mike Elfenbein and his teenage son, subdued a massive python in the Big Cypress National Preserve Friday evening.
Elfenbein and his son Cole were part of the team that brought down the 17-foot, two-inch snake, which weighed just under 200 pounds.
Burmese pythons are not only one of the largest snakes in the world, they are also highly invasive and pose a threat to Florida’s native species.
The capture was the culmination of a team effort that included Amy Siewe, a real estate broker-turned-hunter who was called in to euthanize the animal.
“She killed so many of our animals. Never again,” Siewe wrote on Facebook.
The self-dubbed “Python Huntress” caught a 17-foot snake herself in 2020 – a feat that seems like a rite of passage.
Elfenbein expressed support for the group that helped subdue the slippery giant.
“We were certainly not prepared to face such a large python,” he wrote. “Until you get your hands on something like this, it’s hard to understand.”
The longtime sportsman is the executive director of the Cypress chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, a national conservation organization.
Elfenbein himself was in Washington, D.C. last year to discuss Everglades restoration initiatives.
“Our dedicated executive director and his son had an intense encounter last night at Big Cypress National Preserve,” the nonprofit said on social media.
“This encounter is a stark reminder of the fierce fight against invasive species that threaten our native wildlife populations. We are committed to managing these invaders to protect our precious natural habitats.
Friday night’s catch wasn’t enough to usurp the record 215-pound python captured last June.
This snake weighed 215 pounds and was captured by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, a Naples environmental group that has been fighting to remove invasive species for a decade.
Amy Siewe, who describes herself as the “Python Huntress,” was called to euthanize the animal. Burmese pythons must be killed on site, says Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission
Elfenbein is the executive director of the Cypress chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, a nonprofit conservation organization.
Deer bone fragments and hooves were found in the snake’s stomach once it had been skinned.
The species is directly responsible for the decline of several species in Florida, including raccoons and opossums.
Elfenbein continues to advocate for the protection of native habitat and visited Washington last year to discuss Everglades restoration initiatives.
While Florida is home to all kinds of strange animals, this particular python – one of the largest in the world – is not native to the state.
Although it is non-venomous and poses no immediate physical threat to humans, it preys on native animals, including raccoons and opossums.
The mammals whose populations have experienced the greatest declines are regularly found in the stomachs of pythons collected in Everglades National Park and elsewhere.
The snakes have established a breeding population in South Florida and compete with native wildlife for food, triggering population declines.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, animals must be “humanely killed on site” at the time of capture.