A Newport, Kentucky pet store owner had a close call with one of his own animals after a 20-foot, 125-pound python latched on and started constricting him on Monday morning. According to the police, Terry Wilkens of Captive Born Reptiles was teaching a customer how to care for pythons when the snake coiled itself around his head, neck, and torso.
“Yesterday is normally feeding day. So he thought it was feeding day and he reached out and grabbed my elbow and that’s where the fun began,” Wilkins told WLWT.
“Fun” is not how most people would describe it. The large snake began to crush Wilkins while his customer frantically dialed 911. When police arrived, they said Wilkins was laying in a pool of blood.
“It was only by the grace of God that one of the officers knew how to deal with snakes,” Newport police chief Tom Collins told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It was a horrific event.”
Officers said they found Wilkins unconscious and still being constricted by the python. There also appeared to be bite marks on his neck. Grabbing the python by the head, the officers were able to remove the snake and return it to its cage without much incident. They then revived Wilkins and called for an ambulance to transport him to a hospital, where he was eventually released for minor injuries.
Wilkins later made a statement thanking officers for their help, and despite what many described as a near-death experience, shrugged off the incident as a series of accidents. Wilkins stated on Facebook that the snake had only initially grabbed his elbow and he was able to easily dislodge it with some hot water. However, in doing so he ended up scalding himself and slipped, hitting his head. Wilkins said that the snake was 10 feet away and was crawling in the opposite direction when he blacked out.
“That is pretty much it,” Wilkins said.
The pet store owner reiterated that he was never in danger and is already back to work. He did not however, say whether the snake will be put down.
Pythons are large nonvenomous snakes that kill prey by constriction, and with the exception of the Burmese python, there are few of these critters living in the wild in North America. Burmese pythons are an invasive species and have become widely established in the Florida Everglades, resulting in occasional attacks on pets and even people. Last month a shopper in Florida discovered a live eight-foot python bundled up in old clothes in a flea market.
Image screenshot from Facebook and from WLWT.com