Instagrammer Kym Clark notched up a hit when she got a video of a Burmese python crossing the road.
Clark, who hails from South Florida, told Newsflash that the video of the huge snake was recorded in Everglades Park in Miami.
In the video footage, a voice can be heard saying: “This is the biggest snake I have ever seen in my whole life.”
The snake is part of an environmental disaster in the area after many of the species were released into the Everglades and proceeded to eat much of the local wildlife.
They are not native to Florida and were apparently introduced sometime around the 1980s.
Wildlife officials are urging residents to contact the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) office if they spot a python.
Clark said that her friend Tippy who is in the video, emailed images to FWC, who confirmed that they were correct in identifying it as a Burmese python.
The Burmese python (Python bivittatus) is native to Southeast Asia and is one of the snakes’ largest species.
She said the snake was a surprise as she and her friends Tippy, Siri, and Lu had been looking to photograph birds of prey and other exotic birds.
Clark told Newsflash: “We never expected to see a gigantic Python in the road. I stopped as quickly as I could, taking safety into consideration. As you can tell from the recording, it was after I passed the Python.
“Siri was asking me to proceed to the route when I jumped out of the car to get a better look at the Python.
“We are not snake experts but we knew it was extremely large when we passed it.
“As we got closer, we realized it was a Python but we were not entirely sure until we googled a photo of it. My friends and I were, of course, surprised and shocked.
“We approached it very slowly with extreme caution. My friends, Tippy and Lu, grabbed their cameras for photos to ID it. I reached for my iPhone instead. I jokingly ask my friend Tippy to pick it up, as a couple weeks ago he was bitten by a snake we encountered.
“I was apparently nervous because I didn’t even think to turn off the GPS. When we were close, we were pretty sure it was a Python which invokes many emotions.
“We felt sad that the Pythons are invading Florida’s sacred land. We felt surprised that a Python could grow to be this large. We felt shocked for what (we hope) is a once in a lifetime experience.
“Once the snake took off into the swampy marsh, we ID’ed it and my friend Lu measured it using an iPhone app. It estimated the Python to be about 15.2 feet.
“I like that the video gives size perspective, showing the two lane road and my friend Tippy walking toward it.
“I have never seen a snake this large before in the wild, especially a Python. Yet, my friends and I, unfortunately, did encounter another Python in November in the Everglades. That’s two in less than two months; we are not in the Everglades that often, so it attests to the growing problem Florida is facing. I have a short reel of that encounter on my Instagram page as well.
“I didn’t think much of posting the reel of the 15-foot Python on my Instagram page and was quite surprised to see the media reaction. I was even more surprised to see the social media reaction. I have received so many hateful comments, people placing blame on me for not running it over.
“I think further education is needed and hope your article can provide that. People should not release exotic pets into the wild.
“I could not run the snake over for a multitude of reasons. I could have endangered my friends in my car as well as the individuals in the camper coming toward us. I could not kill this snake humanely which is a legal requirement. A gun is necessary; we are photographers.
“Even the most qualified snake hunters could not easily capture and humanely kill this Python. My friends and I did what we could. We documented the sighting, reported it, and pinned the location.”
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Story By: Michael Leidig, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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