Columbus reptile shop owner attacked by 20-foot python


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WLWT) —A man police said they had to rescue from the grips of a 20-foot python is out of the hospital.

The attack happened on Monday in Newport, Kentucky while the reptile store owner Terry Wilkins, was cleaning the cage.

He’s now out of the hospital and at his home in Columbus.

Wilkins said the attack wasn’t as bad as it looks.

Wilkins has 24 stitches after his 20 foot long, 125-pound snake bit him in the arm.

He said he was cleaning out its cage when it lunged at him inside the captive-born reptile shop.

Wilkins said it was supposed to be feeding day and believes that’s why his python bit him.

He said he asked his customer, Melissa McElfresh, to go get hot water. She poured it on the snake’s head and ran outside to call 911.

Wilkins said he slipped on the water, fell and lost consciousness.

He said the last thing he remembers was the snake wrapped around his leg with his head about 10 feet away.

Two Newport police officers and witnesses said the snake was coiled around his neck and head.

The officers wrangled the snake off him and put it back in its cage.

Wilkins said the situation was under control and not as bad as first thought.

“Before I blacked out the snake was almost completely off me. It had me wrapped around the legs, and I had gotten the head off the elbows, and before I blacked out the snake was crawling away, the head was about 10 feet away from me,” Wilkins said.

Wilkins has been passionate about snakes for 50 years. He said this is the first time he’s had to go to the hospital and get stitches.

Wilkins said he’s thankful to the officers who helped him and that his snake is fine.

Newport police said they didn’t shoot the snake because it would tighten its grip. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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