Jason Leon made the news recently when he caught and killed an 18-foot, 8-inch Burmese python in Florida. Leon, who once owned Burmese pythons, said he wishes he could have kept the 128-pound snake he pulled from bushes alongside a road and then killed with a knife, but now he has the next-best thing: the record-setting snakeskin.

Wildlife officials have returned a roughly 18-foot-long snakeskin to Leon. The snake’s skeleton is being preserved by University of Florida researchers.

Leon tells WSVN-TV that he plans to have the snakeskin preserved so that he can mount it on a wall. He says he’s awed by its colors.

“Look at the pattern on that snake,” he said. “I see God’s creation, I guess, an artist.”

Burmese pythons are considered an invasive species in Florida. Leon reported his find to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Photo: Jason Leon/Tampa Bay Times

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Shannon Rikard
Shannon Rikard is a freelance writer and photographer with a passion for conservation and wedding and portrait photography. The Archery Trade Association and National Wild Turkey Federation have published her work. A self-professed word geek, she enjoys Wheel of Fortune, crossword puzzles, and finding a dynamite synonym to illustrate any point. After starting her career in public relations with a national conservation organization, she ventured out on her own with Copper Door Studios.