University of Florida students line up next to the 18-foot python. (Photo courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)
PALMETTO BAY, Fla. (AP) - The South Florida man who caught and killed the longest Burmese python ever found in Florida gets to keep the snakeskin.
Jason Leon of Palmetto Bay saw a few feet of the snake sticking out of some bushes alongside a rural Miami-Dade County road on May 11. When Leon pulled the snake out into the open, it turned out to be 18 feet 8 inches long.
Leon killed the snake with a knife when it began to wrap around his legs. He reported his find to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Wildlife officials have returned the snakeskin to Leon. Leon tells WSVN-TV that he plans to have it preserved so that he can mount it on a wall. He says he's awed by its colors and pattern.