But as soon as he glanced at his latest catch, he knew he would be remembered once.
Kimmel, owner of Martin County Trapping & Wildlife Rescue, went out to the Florida Everglades last week in hopes of catching a giant Burmese python.
He headed for a secluded island where he noticed alligator droppings and a black snake, but then he came across a giant python that he knew immediately was special. “My heart started beating,” Kimmel told CNN. “I’ve caught big ones before, but this one looked pretty big.”
Kimmel is waiting for the state authorities for an official measurement. When he weighed the snake at home, it is about 17 feet long, and it is estimated that it weighed about 130 to 150 kilograms, he said.
The largest python captured in Florida is 18 feet, 8 centimeters long, according to the Florida Commission for the Conservation of Fish and Wildlife.
Pythons began appearing on the Everglades in the 1980s, and were most likely abandoned by pet owners when they became too large to handle. Some may have managed to escape from a farm destroyed during Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
Wildlife officials now estimate that as many as 100,000 pythons could live on the Everglades. Snakes kill native animals, including raccoons, otters, birds, and even alligators.
Kimmel plans to sell snake skin on her website. He said he will also receive payment from Florida’s Python action team that pays people to remove invasive species.
“I was proud to come out on top and I knew I was going to get a good paycheck from it,” Kimmel said. “But most of all, a snake of that size can really get to anything, so I was thrilled to have pulled this dangerous predator out of the ecosystem.”
CNN’s Alaa Elassar contributed to this report.
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