Courtesy Newport Police

Terry Wilkins was cleaning the snake's cage with another woman when the reptile attacked

October 06, 2015 08:20 AM

A reptile store owner was hospitalized on Monday after being attacked by a 20-ft. python.

Authorities said Terry Wilkins, who owns Captive Born Reptiles in Newport, Kentucky, was cleaning the snake’s cage with a friend when the reptile attacked, biting him and then wrapping itself around Wilkins’ head and neck, WLWT reports.

The friend tried to get the snake to let go by throwing hot water on it, but it wrapped around Wilkins tighter, so she called police.

“There’s a snake wrapped around his neck! Please, the snake’s wrapped around his neck!” the woman can be heard shouting in the 911 call. “It’s wrapped around his neck! His whole face! His face is covered!”

When police showed up, they had to pry the reptile from Wilkins’ limp body and wrestle it back into the cage, according to WCPO.

“I grabbed its head,” Newport Police Lt. Greg Rapberger said. “We started pulling on the snake – kind of straightening it out. At that point in time, Sgt. [Daron] Arnberg – as I’m pulling – he started loosening the coils around the guy, and finally the snake came out and we were able to put it back in the cage.”

“It was fierce,” Newport Police Chief Thomas Collins told Buzzfeed. “The shop is covered in blood where it was squirting everywhere.”

Once officers removed the snake, Wilkins started breathing again. He remained at a local hospital in good condition as of Monday evening and is expected to make a full recovery.

Police are working with animal control to determine whether the python should be removed from the shop in the wake of the attack, USA Today reports.

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