Python killed by ‘elimination’ hunter is a record, stretching nearly 17 feet

As part of a program to eliminate invasive Burmese pythons from the Everglades, professional python hunter Dusty “Wildman” Crum killed a python measuring 16 feet, 11 inches, breaking the program’s and his own record by an inch.

“It was an unbelievable match,” Crum said in video produced by the South Florida Water Management District, which launched the Python Elimination Program in March. “I’ve never been tested like that before.

“This snake’s not going to hurt any more of our natives.”

Details on how Crum captured and killed his latest python, a 122-pounder, were not revealed, only that he caught it at 11 p.m. last Thursday in an area known as L-28 and that it was in the water.

Crum’s previous record catch was a 16-foot, 10-inch python in May, two months after the program began.

His latest python isn’t the biggest ever taken, however. That record was a reported 18 feet, 8 inches.

A Burmese python in a tree in the Everglades. Photo: Courtesy of the National Park Service

The Python Elimination Program was launched as an aggressive action to protect the Everglades from pythons and limit the negative impacts on its ecosystem.

It consists of a monetary compensation program that helps give python hunters incentive to kill these non-native destructive snakes, which have become the apex predator of the Everglades.

The water district pays approved hunters a minimum wage of $8.10 per hour up to eight hours a day, according to the Palm Beach Post. Then they pay out $50 per python up to 4 feet and $25 per foot after that. So a 17-footer would earn a hunter $375.

From March 25 to June 1 this year, 158 pythons have been removed from the Everglades as part of the program. They measured a total of 1,369 feet and 3,725 pounds.

“A big thanks to the SFW water district for turning us loose on these pythons,” Crum said in the video. “So we’re taking ’em out of the Glades one snake at a time.”

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