Bonifay- For Cane the mut, his 12 year old owner Ronni Holbrook was a hero. When she came home from school Wednesday and saw her dog frantically barking at an 11 foot Burmese Python, she knew there was only one thing left to do.
"I was scared he was going to get eaten" she said.
So Holbrook loaded her 20 gage shotgun and pulled the trigger. "It was the kill shot in the neck" she said, standing beside the snake.
Holbrook took up hunting earlier this year, but didn't put her marksmanship skills to the test until Wednesday. "That's the only thing I've killed" she said laughing. "I haven't killed anything else."
A pretty impressive first kill- the snake was nearly three times Holbrook's size.
Local expert, Tom Walling at ZooWorld said the the Holbrooks probably wouldn't be the only people to stumble upon a python.
"My guess is the one that was found was somebody's pet. It either escaped accidentally, or it is possible that it got to a point where it was becoming too expensive to feed and the owners turned it loose" Walling explained. "South Florida is getting overrun- the everglades- with Burmese Pythons and African Rock Pythons. It's a very, very big problem."
Because pythons have no natural enemies in Florida, they have continued to mate, eat and grow in size and numbers.
Walling said it could be a potentially dangerous problem for small children and household pets.
"It's a constricting predator" he said "so, they squeeze their prey. And when its prey exhales, it squeezes harder until it suffocates and then swallows it whole."
Even so, the young sharp shooter told us she was not afraid of the snake, though there was one thing that still spooked her... spiders.
"Terrified. I'm more afraid of little spiders than that thing" she said poking at the snake.
And since she said she would probably never kill anything that beats a Burmese, Holbrook said she was putting the Python on the wall.
"I get to keep the skin, and Abby (her friend) gets to keep the head" she said laughing.