Police rescue boy, 9, from hug of pet python

June 24, 1991|By Knight-Ridder

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Long Beach firefighters rescued a 9-year-old boy after his 12-foot pet python wrapped itself around the boy's leg and tried to eat his foot for dessert.

The snake had the boy's foot in his mouth "in an attempt to swallow it," said Fire Department spokesman Bob Caldon. "It was looking for its next meal."

Alex Henry had just finished feeding a rabbit to his pet Burmese python when it began to coil itself around the youngster's leg, Caldon said.

The boy kept the snake in his bedroom and often slept with it at night, Caldon said. But Saturday, the snake wasn't so snuggly, although atfirst Alex thought it was just playing.

When it became clear, however, that the reptile wasn't fooling around, Alex started screaming for help because he could not free himself, Caldon said.

He was home alone and, luckily, neighbors heard his cries and called for help.

When paramedics arrived, they "scared the snake and it let go of his foot," Caldon said.

Paramedic Steve Williams grabbed its head, while four firefighters unwrapped it from the boy's calf, Caldon said.

Pythons crush their prey to death.

The youth suffered slight puncture wounds on his foot. Since pythons are not poisonous, the youngster's wounds were cleaned with an antiseptic, Caldon said. Otherwise the boy was unharmed.

The boy's other exotic pets include tarantulas, scorpions, an iguana and two other large snakes.

In the city of Long Beach, anyone wishing to keep a pet other than cats and dogs must have a permit issued by the city's Office of Animal Control, Caldon said. The boy did not have permits for his unusual pets.

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