National

Wildlife expert battles 14-foot Burmese python inside pipe

His plan was to push the python out of a concrete pipe with a long 2-by-2. But then he had to crawl 15 feet or so into the two-foot-wide pipe to reach the snake. And then the snake turned back on him in the close quarters and struck.

At that point, wildlife expert Justin Matthews ordered his son out of the other end of the pipe. Brandon Matthews had grabbed its tail. Not a good idea. Too dangerous. The elder Matthews would handle it himself.

Now Matthews the younger, four firefighters and a growing group of spectators stood by and listened — more than an hour into the battle Saturday afternoon and within sight of a Sweetbay Supermarket and a day care center.

When the python’s hissing maw and spitting tongue reached four feet from Matthews, the stick became a weapon.

Read the complete story and see photos at bradenton.com

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