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EVERGLADES, Florida (WBBH) — People on a tour boat ride in the Everglades had a front row seat as their tour guide jumped out of the boat and started wrestling a 10-foot python. And all of it was caught on camera.
The amazing video shows it all – a tour guide face-to-face with one of Southwest Florida’s most dangerous species.
But for guide Tommy Owen, the catch of a lifetime was just an ordinary day.
“I grew up here, so this is pretty standard for the most part,” he said.
Owen works for Everglades Adventure Tours. He was out on the water with a family on Tuesday when he saw a massive python swimming through the swamp.
“I didn’t even realize it was 10 feet – definitely thought it was over 6 feet – definitely bigger than me. I didn’t realize it was three times the size of my arm,” he said.
After sizing up the predator, Owen says he let his instincts take over and decided to hop in after it.
“They don’t belong here and that was literally running through my head,” he said. “I just launched on it essentially, ambushed it like any other predator out here and just got it – had the best grip on it and never let go the entire tussle.”
After a few minutes of what he calls “snake jujitsu,” Owen had a good enough hold on the python so his partner could kill it.
“With a snake especially that big, you get one chance to grab it by the neck where it doesn’t bite you. I had him, eventually exposed the neck to Warren. I want the head away – that’s the most dangerous part of the snake so I exposed the neck and he was able to eventually make that cut,” Owen explained.
Everglades Adventure Tours Owner Jack Shealy says the business has been in the family for generations and he’s never seen a python catch caught on camera – but wouldn’t put anything past his good friend Owen.
“Even rarer then encountering a snake is someone jumping on it! Tommy’s always been a wild man growing up with him,” he said.
While Owen got rid of another one of the dangerous species, he knows there’s plenty more left in the Everglades.
“Unfortunately, that’s the problem. I had to make sure that I got this one because it’s one less out there – one less eating native species,” he said.
“They’re eating everything – the only thing that hasn’t been found in a python is a black bear,” Shealy added.
And as for the tourists – let’s just say they got more than they paid for.
“They’ll never get a show like that ever again; that was the highlight of their life, or their vacation for sure. I got wrapped up in my work; I can’t help it,” Owen said.