BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officials captured and euthanized a 9-foot-long anaconda that was found by a fisherman in the St. Johns River.
The snake was spotted Monday in the river at State Road 50 near the Brevard and Orange county line, according to FWC, which added that the snake is the fifth known anaconda found in Florida.
Officials said they found the green anaconda on the riverbank and euthanized it before it was able to escape into the water.
"It wasn't skinny," said Derrick Lockhart, a captain at Midway Air Boat Rides. "It was eating, or it was recently dropped off and had something to eat. It's farewell meal."
The snake, which was approximately 9 feet 5 inches long and weighed 33 pounds, is listed as a conditional species, meaning that it can't be acquired in the state for personal use, according to FWC.
The anaconda was not tagged as one of the snakes grandfathered in with a previous license, as required by state law, so the FWC was not able to determine how long the snake was in the wild.
The green anacondas are only allowed for research, commercial use or public exhibition purposes, according to FWC. They are non-native in Florida and are from northern South America.
"Hopefully we don't see one," said Aleta Evans, who was heading out on an air boat ride Wednesday. "If we do, we'll sit back and go, 'How lucky we are to be in a boat.'"
You can report sightings of non-native wildlife to the Exotic Species Hotline 888-IveGot1 or online at IVEGOT1.org.