Kentucky python attack
A man who was rescued by police as he was being crushed by a 20-foot python Monday has been released from the hospital.
Reptile store owner Terry Wilkens was discharged from University of Cincinnati Medical Center on Tuesday, an official there said.
According to reports, Wilkens was taken to the hospital after a 125-pound snake at his on Monmouth Street store bit him and coiled itself around his head, neck and torso late Monday morning.
It took two Newport officers to pull the the snake off Wilkens, owner of Captive Born Reptiles, police chief Tom Collins said.
Local media reports say, “there was blood everywhere” and Wilkens was not breathing when officers were trying to free him, Collins said, but he did resume breathing before he was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
The call came around 11 a.m. and Lt. Gregory Ripberger and Sgt. Daron Armberg were at the store within minutes, Collins said.
“It was only by the grace of God that one of the officers knew how to deal with snakes,” Collins said.
Ripberger grabbed the snake by the head and worked to uncurl it off the man’s body. Collins and other officers pulled Wilkens by his legs to free him.
The snake had begun to coil around Ripberger’s arm before the officers were able to return it to its enclosure.
“It was a horrific event,” Collins said.
Collins said the man was feeding the snake when it latched onto his arm.
Gary Collins, who owns Galaxie Skate Shop, three doors down, said Captive Born Reptiles has only been in business for two months and that the man who was attacked was the owner of the store.
The store’s website lists two locations, one at 633 Monmouth St. and the other in Columbus. A worker at the Columbus store said Wilkens incurred a minor snake bite to the arm.
“I’m sure they plan on keeping it,” the worker said. “Why wouldn’t they?”
The worker said Wilkens and his wife may release a statement on the incident but did not know when.
Gary Collins said Wilkens was with a woman who was learning how to care for the snake. That woman called 911.
Pythons are a variety of constrictor, which kill their prey by wrapping coils of their bodies around the prey and squeezing, according to the San Diego Zoo website.
The snake is currently alive and being held at the store where the incident occurred. Police are working with animal control to determine if the animal will need to be removed from the shop.