RANDOLPH COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – A Region 8 family vacationing in Florida for Christmas encountered an unexpected visitor during an outing at a national park.
Richard Blount, who lives in Randolph County, recorded the capture of a Burmese python on his cell phone while visiting Everglades National Park two days after Christmas with his son and two daughters.
"It was by the edge of the swamp," he said. "We'd been in down in Key West on vacation the week of Christmas, and we were coming back on December 27, and we wanted to see some of the Everglades."
The park ranger killed the snake with a shotgun. Blount said she did not allow the group that had gathered to witness the shooting. However, after it was over, the public got to watch park employees prepare to transport it.
"They stretched it out and measured it, and it was 17 ft. long, and she said it was a Burmese python, and that it had just eaten something. It had a big bulge in it," Blount said. "They were going to take it down and dissect it, and try to see if it had eggs in it."
According to the Everglades National Park website, more than 1,800 pythons have been removed from the park and surrounding areas in the past 10 years, and that number probably represents only a fraction of the total population.
"It was really kind of neat. I had heard that they had that big snake problem down there, but didn't really expect to see anything like that."