Caught On Camera: Huge python caught in Everglades

Published On: Apr 10 2013 10:14:46 AM HST   Updated On: Apr 11 2013 04:12:16 AM HST

An eco-tour guide got a little wrapped up in his work this week.

Tommy Owen, who works at Everglades Adventure Tours, rangled a 10.5-foot Burmese python while giving an eco-tour to a family of tourists in the Everglades on Tuesday. One of the tourists, Paul Tarantino, kept his poise and snapped the photo you see above.

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"I've caught snakes before, so I know how to catch snakes, but never anything this big," Owen said in a telephone interview with WPBF 25 News on Wednesday.

Once the snake was spotted, Owen said he knew he had only one chance to pounce on it.

"I lucked out and grabbed it perfectly," he said, before recounting the several-minute power struggle with an animal he estimated to be three times stronger than himself. "I'm halfway under water, I let it wrap around my right arm, and that's when I (was) able to lift it out of the water."

But that was just the beginning. Owen said the snake coiled around one arm and then tightened. That's when he put his arm under water, causing the python to loosen his hold on Owen's arm. Then he brought the snake back above water and continued to fight with it. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Owen, who added that another guide helped him wrestle the snake, said it eventually wrapped itself around both of his arms at the same time before becoming too exhausted to fight.

"I was basically handcuffed," he said.

Owen's boss said the python was turned over to the National Parks Service.

"They'll do a biopsy and learn about the python and try to find out how serious of a threat it is," said Jack M. Shealy, owner and operator of Everglades Adventure Tours. "We've only had exotic snakes out (in the Everglades) for 15 or 20 years, so it's still an educational process."

Shealy said his eco-tour business offers private nature tours and tries to bring awareness to the heritage and culture of the Everglades.

"Anything that draws interest to the Everglades as a whole is good for us," he told on Wednesday.

You can find out more about Everglades Adventure Tours by clicking here.


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