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Snake Swallows Woman’s Hand, Then Gives it Up

January 22, 1992

CLAYTON, N.C. (AP) _ A woman’s 12-foot pet python grabbed her hand and swallowed it and began working its way up her arm. But the woman told rescuers: ″Don’t kill my snake 3/8 Don’t kill my snake 3/8″

″She’s lucky he didn’t get around her neck and choke her to death,″ said Marvin Parrish, chief of Clayton’s rescue squad. He declined to identify the woman, who eventually managed to free her hand by herself.

The snake grabbed the woman’s hand while she was feeding it hamsters Friday. She called 911.

By the time rescuers arrived, Parish said, the reptile had swallowed her hand up to her wrist. And he said it had coiled itself around the rest of her arm and started squeezing, a python’s method of suffocating and subduing its prey.

The woman was so adamant about not harming her snake, Parrish said Wednesday, that he and his workers did nothing but call a veterinarian, who, by coincidence, had returned from a reptile seminar earlier in the week.

But by the time Mike Bagley of Clayton Animal Hospital arrived, the woman had managed to jerk her hand out when the snake let go momentarily before trying to extend its grasp.

″I was pretty happy that when I got there the snake was already back in its cage,″ Bagley said. ″I knew exactly how to take care of its medical needs, but that’s different than going in and wrestling with it.″

Although pythons have no venom, their mouths may harbor potentially harmful bacteria and their teeth point backward to keep live meals from escaping. ″It’s geared so things go down but don’t come back up,″ Bagley said. ″It would be harder to pry off the snake than you might imagine.″

The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment of several cuts on her hand, Parrish said.

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