'Horror Movie': How Cops Saved Man With 18-Ft Python Wrapped Around His Throat

Courtesy of Elliot’s family
Courtesy of Elliot’s family  

The family of a man who escaped the grip of an 18-foot python when a quick-thinking police officer shot the snake in the head say the horrifying ordeal began when the man's snake suddenly turned on him.

First responders in Upper Macungie Township in Pennsylvania responded to a call shortly after 2 p.m. on Wednesday about a person in cardiac arrest, only to find an even more frightening scene: a young man lying in his house with an 18-foot-long reticulated python coiled around his throat.

With the snake's midsection wrapped twice around the victim's throat and once around his body, a police officer had access to its face-with a careful shot, the cop shot the slithery assailant in the head and pulled the young man to safety.

A close family member identified the victim to The Daily Beast as 27-year-old Elliott of Fogelsville, Pennsylvania. The relative asked that his last name be withheld for privacy.

According to the relative, Elliott has worked with snakes since he was 10 and is an experienced handler. Around six years ago, he began rescuing snakes from owners that could no longer care for them, taking them in and rehousing them appropriately based on their temperament and natural habitats.

"A lot of times the snakes were neglected or mistreated and needed medical care," the family member told The Daily Beast. "He would provide all of that."

The 27-year-old is an experienced snake handler.
The 27-year-old is an experienced snake handler.  

The snake that attacked Elliott was one of three in his home at the time, according to the family member. Elliott was checking on the animals and beginning to clean their cages when one snake grew particularly aggressive. Given that Elliott has long cared for snakes, all of his family members are trained to respond to attacks, and the home is outfitted with the necessary equipment.

When Elliott's grandmother walked in and saw the snake wrapped around her collapsed grandson, she immediately called 911, after which she attempted to follow the appropriate snake-handling procedure.

"This particular snake was aggressive, and that was one of the issues," the family member said, specifying that the animal had previously been mistreated and malnourished. "With the way that this snake attacked him and how aggressive it became, it wasn't reacting normally."

By the time first responders arrived and managed to shoot the animal, Elliott was in cardiac arrest. He received emergency medical treatment and was rushed to the hospital, where he remains in critical condition and on life support, the family member said.

The snake did not die upon being shot but was later euthanized given its extreme aggression.

As Fox29 reported, Lieutenant Peter Nickischer was shocked by the incident, and said that Elliott likely would have remained trapped if the snake hadn't been shot.

"I've been doing this job for 19 years and this is the first time I've seen anything like this," he said. "One of the officers described it as 'right out of a horror movie.'"

According to Elliott's family member, he is a strong believer that only experienced handlers should care for snakes, and urges people to recognize the care and expertise required to bring them into the home.

Many people, the family member said, don't understand how large snakes get and find they can't care for them after buying one.

"He doesn't want people to just go and buy these snakes," the family member said. "He wants people to know the risk that's involved."

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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