14-foot python capture was Florida snake charmer’s hoax

MANATEE — Remember that 14-foot python that Wildlife Rescue;s Justin Matthews wrestled out a drain pipe on July 25, and how it drew national attention?

Turns out it was staged.

Matthews, a well known wildlife trapper, admitted as much to a Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission investigator on Wednesday.

"I wanted to make a point, but I regret it now," Matthews said today.

FWC spokesman Gary Morse said the incident is still under investigation.

"It was a lapse in judgment on his part," Morse said.

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