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South Florida hunters snag 15-foot, 144-pound python

Posted at 6:53 AM, Apr 04, 2017

(WSVN/CNN) - Two South Florida men have quite a story to tell after they snagged a massive, 15-foot python in the Everglades on Saturday.

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Nicholas Banos and trapping partner Leonardo Sanchez were driving in their car, keeping their eyes on the lookout, when they made the phenomenal find.

"I saw a little gloss, and I saw a big square, brown patch and automatically, I knew what it was," said Sanchez.


"He goes, ‘Python, python!’  The second I get out of the car, and I look over it's this big python stretched there where the trees meet the water. When we jumped at it, he goes and grabs it by the tail.  The second he starts to grab it, the snake starts to beeline into the trees, so he tells me, ‘Go for the head, go for the head.’ I'm trying to get into the trees because it's all over the place," said Banos.

As they wrestled for their catch, their struggle was just beginning.

"I started to try to pull it, so it wouldn't go into the water, and the snake just turns straight around and beelines toward my face.  That's when he came in, and he jumped from behind and grabbed it by the head, and he even got nipped a couple times," said Banos.

Minutes later, they were finally able to get the snake into a massive bag and throw it in the back of their van.

The men are part of the ongoing python challenge to help protect the Everglades.

Twenty-five people were selected and commissioned by the South Florida Water Management District to kill the invasive Burmese pythons over a 60-day period.

The goal of the challenge is to get rid of as many pythons as they can.

"We don't hunt for sport. We're not hunting to kill. We hunt to remove. Catch and remove. But having to kill it was a little rough for us. We've never really had to do that before.  It was satisfying, but it was also a feeling of a little bit of heartbreak," said Banos.

In case you're wondering, the python weighed-in at 144 pounds.  

Courtesy WSVN via CNN Newsource