Fla. Tour Guides Wrestle 10-Foot Python

By Alexa Valiente

Apr 11, 2013 1:30pm

People on a pole boat tour in the Florida Everglades had front row seats to a wrestling match when their tour guides jumped out of their boats and wrangled a 10-foot python.

Tommy Owen, 26, from Everglade City, Fla., and Warren Wortman, from Chokoloskee, Fla., who  work for Everglades Adventure Tours, had the catch of a lifetime when they took down the Burmese python about 20 minutes into their tour.

“Our visitors got their money’s worth to say the least,” Jack Shealy, owner of Everglades Adventure Tours, told ABCNews.com

A woman on the tour spotted the snake in the water, Owen said, and they swung into action.

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Tour guides, Tommy Owen and Warren Wortman, stopped their Florida Everglades boat tour to wrestle a 10 foot Burmese python. (Courtesy Paul Tarantino)

“I was literally stalking the snake, ready to grab it from under the water,” Owen said.

After they pushed their tour boats away at least 15 feet away from the python, Owen grabbed the snake under the water and allowed it to wrap and coil around him so he could pull it out.

“I realized he was much bigger than I was,” Owen said. “He was very strong, about three times the size of my arms.”

The battle, which was caught on camera, became more dangerous when the python shook loose from Owen and Wortman’s grasp.

“That’s when the snake jujitsu came in handy,” Owen said.  Owen was able to expose the snake long enough for Wortman to cut off the snake’s head with a blade he had only ever used to peel his oranges.

“It was still fighting after it was completely cut through,” Wortman said.

The Burmese python is not native to the area and preys on native Everglade species, such as birds and other snakes.

“It’s not my job,” Owen said of capturing the python, “but at the same time it’s my home. I was protecting the environment.”

They turned the snake over to Big Cypress National Preserve, where it will be tested to find out its eating habits, origin, and where it’s been.

Owen said he was sorry for what he had to do, but, “I have to get him out of there ’cause he’s going to kill our native species.”

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