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Reticulated Python Bites Owner Of Captive Born Reptiles

Three officers helped to remove the python from the owner.

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Terry Wilkins of Captive Born Reptiles in Newport, KY was cleaning the enclosure of one of his reticulated pythons October 5 when the snake bit him and began to coil around him. As he worked to remove the snake, he fell back and hit his head, according to an off camera interview with news media. The three police officers who responded to the 911 call from Melissa McElfresh said that when they arrived, Wilkins was on his back with the snake wrapped around him, apparently unconscious.

"They were cleaning the cage," Newport Police Chief Thomas Collins said. "For whatever reason, the snake grabbed the handler by his arm, came from out of his quarters and wrapped around his entire body and his entire neck."


“As they uncoiled the snake from him we were able to grab his legs and he wasn’t breathing and he didn’t look like he had any chest movements whatsoever,” said Lt. Greg Ripberger. 

When they removed the snake from Wilkins, Wilkins came to and began talking with the officers, reports said. The chief of police credits Lt. Greg Ripberger, who was familiar with handling large snakes, for taking over and directing the other officers on how to remove the snake from Wilkins. 

I grabbed its head, Lt. Greg Rapberger said. We started pulling on the snake — kind of straightening it out. At that point in time. . . . 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.

Wilkins was at the shop the next day, but didn’t speak to the news media on camera.