Penniston, who was hunting on SFWMD grounds as part of the district's Python Elimination Program, revealed the details of his battle with the 120-pound invasive python on Monday.
"I just caught this python alone. I was riding along the levee and saw this massive girl in the water," he wrote. "Jumped out and grabbed her by the head and realized how big she truly was."
"She started wrapping me while I tried getting her up the levee. She ended up making me loose [sic] my grip and as soon as I knew it she had my hand in her mouth," he added, explaining that he had no other option than to continue wrestling with the snake after his firearm suddenly jammed.
The snake was later killed, in line with the elimination program's policy. Photos of Penniston's grand capture were taken by Brian Hargrove, a fellow snake hunter who was looking for his own catch when he came upon Penniston.
The water management district indicated in a Wednesday statement that the Monday night catch is the third snake "caught as part of the program that measured more than 17 feet."
"With the record catch, SFWMD's python hunters have now eliminated 1,859 of the invasive snakes on District lands, stretching a combined length of more than two miles and collectively weighing more than 11 tons," it added, noting that Penniston, who has bagged a total of 235 snakes, is in second place among the program's top hunters.
The top-ranked snake hunter is none other than Hargrove, who has captured 257.
"Just six months after eliminating the first 1,000 pythons from District lands, this program is about to double that total because of a true team effort," Mike Kirkland, project manager for the Python Elimination Program, said in a statement.
"With the Governing Board's unwavering support, District staff and a dedicated group of hunters are working to help control this invasive species and protect native wildlife."
Hunters participating in the program are paid $8.25 per hour and can receive bonuses depending on the size of pythons they capture. A hefty $200 can also be granted to participants who've "eliminated python nests with eggs."
The Python Elimination Program was launched in an effort to protect the Everglades ecosystem, which has seen its native populations of wildlife decimated by the Burmese python, according to the SFWMD.