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Officer fatally shot 15-foot snake that was strangling man, police say


Pennsylvania police shot and killed a 15-foot snake Wednesday as it was strangling a man in his home in an Allentown suburb.

Emergency personnel responded to a call Wednesday afternoon about a 28-year-old man who was in cardiac arrest with a snake wrapped tightly around his throat. When police arrived at the home in Fogelsville, they found the man, who was identified by police only as the pet snake’s owner, lying unresponsive on the floor, Lt. Peter Nickischer, with the Upper Macungie Township, told The Washington Post.

The “very large, very thick” snake had wrapped its midsection around his neck — and its eyes were on the officers, he said.

Nickischer said one of the officers fired a single shot, striking the snake in the head. The reptile then released its grip and slithered away, allowing the officers to pull its owner to safety, he said.

The snake died.

Nickischer said paramedics provided “lifesaving measures” on the man before rushing him to a hospital for treatment. He remained hospitalized on Thursday, though his condition was not known, Nickischer added.

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Police did not say what type of snake it was, and it is still unclear why it turned on its owner. But it’s not the first time this has happened.

In 2015, a Florida teen was bitten on the lip by a cottonmouth water moccasin he had been keeping as a pet, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Two years later, an Ohio woman called 911, reporting a boa constrictor was wrapped around her waist and was holding onto her nose. As The Post previously reported, the snake was not venomous and was not strangling her, but she told the dispatcher there was “blood everywhere.”

And last year, a Florida woman and her boyfriend were released from prison 12 years after their malnourished pet Burmese python wrapped its eight-foot body around the woman’s 2-year-old daughter, killing her, according to ClickOrlando. Both had been convicted of aggravated manslaughter and child neglect, the outlet reported.

Following the recent snake attack in Pennsylvania, Nickischer commended the officers for saving a man’s life.

He said the officers did not know at the time where the snake was or how many there were in the home, but they acted without hesitation. “They went in, they saw an opportunity to save a man, and they showed a lot of bravery as far as I’m concerned,” he said Thursday in a phone interview with The Post.