Man Hunts Down Massive Burmese Python in Everglades, After Cutting It Open Realizes He Was Just in Time


Move over, gators — there’s a new critter at the top of the food chain in the Florida Everglades.

Burmese pythons — one of Florida’s most damaging invasive species — have been known to overpower alligators and literally eat them for lunch.

About the only threat Florida pythons have to worry about are python hunters, whose job it is to help eradicate the powerful invaders.

That’s where snake hunter Mike Kimmel — also known as the “Python Cowboy” — comes in.

Kimmel uses his bird dog, Otto, to sniff out pythons in remote areas of the Sunshine State’s multimillion-acre wilderness, according to Field and Stream.

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Kimmel made headlines recently with a recent catch: a massive, 16-foot female python.

Not only was he able to eradicate the python, he made a grim discovery when he cut the beast open: more than 60 baseball-sized eggs.

“Here’s one of the larger gravid [female carrying fertilized eggs] pythons that Otto located for me this nesting season,” Kimmel wrote in a recent Facebook post.

“She was nearly 16 feet long and contained over 60 eggs that were just days from being laid into our Everglades.”

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Female pythons can lay as few as 12 eggs, but are capable of laying over 100 eggs, according to the Global Invasive Species Database. The mother incubates them for about two months by coiling on top of the eggs.

Kimmel went on to explain the need for eliminating as many such invasive species as possible from the Everglades’ fragile environment.

“A removal like this is absolutely crucial for our native wildlife in that ecosystem and WILL make a difference,” Kimmel wrote. “A python this size can eat anything in the Everglades, as I’ve proven with the multiple adult alligators I’ve rescued from being eaten by pythons (3 separate times).

“These invasive snakes are now the top of the food chain… until man & dog intervene.”

WARNING: The following post contains images some may find disturbing.

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In a May 29 Instagram post, Kimmel gave more details about the work he and Otto do.

“This is Otto’s first python season but he has found and alerted me to a dozen pythons already now, most of which have been full of eggs or even sitting on eggs,” he wrote.

“He’s even found pythons nesting deep underground that we’ve successfully dug out and removed.

“These pythons would never have been found without his keen sense of smell and drive to work.

“We are up to almost 500 live python eggs removed and we are only half way through the season.”

Kimmel said he and his crew do their hunting in the remote, unmanaged areas of the Everglades wilderness, unlike most of the area’s python hunters, who remain in more civilized areas with roadways and levees.

“[In my opinion] these remote areas are even more important to hunt and maintain, especially during nesting season,” he explained. “Our already struggling native wildlife is getting [eaten] up by these cryptic predators.”

“Standing by is not an option,” he concluded.

During the past decade, the National Park Service said, “snakes from around the world have been turning up in Everglades National Park. The Burmese python is the best known and most problematic of these snakes.”

The NPS said the pythons became established “due to accidental or intentional release of captive pet animals.”

“Studies show that pythons are probably the main reason that mammals have declined very sharply in number” in Everglades National Park, according to the website.

The park service added an admonishment to visitors, urging them, “Don’t release unwanted pets” in the wild.

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Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.
Lorri Wickenhauser has worked at news organizations in California and Arizona. She joined The Western Journal in 2021.