An Everglades alligator owes its life to a Florida trapper after it was rescued from the suffocating clutches of a 10-foot python.
Mike Kimmel, owner of Martin County Trapping and Removals and Martin County Wildlife Rescue, came across the massive python in the dark night of the Everglades already wrapped around a 4-foot alligator this weekend.
In a video posted to his Facebook page, Kimmel was seen wrangling the python from the bushes and held it up until it dropped the smaller alligator, which quickly scampered away.
The freed alligator has some company; Kimmel told Fox News it was the third he’s saved from a python in the past year.
Kimmel has been contracted by the South Florida Water Management District for about a year, tasked with hunting and removing pythons. Over the past year, he said more than 1,070 pythons have been removed by trappers, and he captures anywhere from two to six per night.
“Born and raised in Florida, I love the Everglades, I love the outdoors and I love everything we have down here,” he said. “When I see what the pythons have done to the Everglades, it’s something I can’t stand by and watch.”
“They’re a huge problem. The Everglades are sick right now to begin with,” he continued. “On top of everything, you have this invasive predator that has nothing else to keep it in check besides humans. It eats and kills everything. The native wildlife we have have never dealt with a cryptic predator like the python. They don’t have the instincts or defense mechanism for it.”
As seen in the video, Kimmel captures pythons alive and will keep them that way until he’s ready to turn them over to the state. He said he follows Florida’s guidelines to euthanize them in a humane manner.
Florida officials will then study the weight, measurements and stomach contents of the python before returning the reptiles back to Kimmel. He gets paid a bounty for the snakes, he said.
“The way these pythons spread, to me, is what makes them dangerous,” he said. “I’m trying to protect the Everglades.”
Kimmel said the python in his viral video was found in an area just outside of Fort Lauderdale, about five to 10 miles west of Everglades Holiday Park.