WDBO – Orlando, Fla.
NEWPORT, Ky. — Police are being credited with saving a Kentucky reptile store owner’s life after the man was bitten and nearly squeezed to death by a 20-foot, 125-pound python.
According to WCPO, the owner of the Captive Born Reptiles store, Terry Wilkins, was cleaning the snake’s cage on Monday afternoon when he was attacked.
“For whatever reason, the snake grabbed the handler by his arm, came from out of his quarters and wrapped around his entire body and his entire neck,” said Newport Police Chief Thomas Collins.
A woman in the shop, who says Wilkins was trying to feed the animal at the time, frantically called 911.
“It’s wrapped around his neck! His whole face, his face is covered. He’s like a 40-foot snake, I swear to God!”
Lt. Gregory Ripberger and Sgt. Daron Armberg were at the store within minutes.
“I grabbed his head, he started pulling on the snake, kinda straightening it out,” said Lt. Ripberger. “At that point in time, sergeant put his arms around it. I’m pulling. He started unloosening the coils around the guy, and finally, the snake came off, and we were able to put it back in its cage.”
Police say there was blood everywhere, and Wilkins was unconscious when they freed him. He was rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and is in critical condition.
Rapberger has had experience with snakes before and says if they would’ve shot the python, it would’ve constricted even tighter and killed Wilkins.
The python is being held at the store until animal control determines if it should be removed or not.