According to CBS, after capturing the snake, National Park Service and US Geological Survey interns were permitted to hold the snake to "help them gain confidence and experience." Because nothing says "this is what you signed up for" more than "hold this horrifying 18ft python and smile like you're totally okay with it."
Apparently, the estimated number of pythons living in South Florida varies from several thousand to more than 100,000. Enjoy, friends! State and federal officials have tried using traps, python-sniffing dogs, and a "massive amateur hunt" to deal with the python population, however, only cold temperatures and "exotic pet amnesty days" -- during which you own up to owning a python, no questions asked, you freak -- have been successful.