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Kentucky Reptile Store Owner Hospitalized After Bloody Attack By 20-Foot Python

"It was fierce."

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A man in Kentucky was hospitalized Monday after being attacked by a massive python in his reptile store, police told BuzzFeed News.

Terry Wilkins, who owns Captive Born Reptiles in Newport, Kentucky, (which lies across the Ohio river from Cincinnati) was in his shop with a woman when he asked her to distract a 20-foot long, 125-pound python by tapping on the snake's enclosure while he fed the animal.

However, the snake suddenly turned on Wilkins and bit him, Newport Police Chief Thomas Collins told BuzzFeed News.

"It was fierce," Collins said. "The shop is covered in blood where it was squirting everywhere."

The snake quickly wrapped itself around Wilkins head and neck, despite the woman throwing hot water on the animal.

As the massive python proceeded to coil itself from Wilkins' torso to his head, the woman frantically dialed 911.

"There’s a snake wrapped around his neck! Please the snake's wrapped around his neck!" the woman can be heard screaming during the call. "It’s wrapped around his neck! His whole face! His face is covered!"

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Chief Collins said two nearby officers, Lt. Gregory Ripberger and Sgt. Baron Arnberg, responded to the call within 10 seconds.

Despite the horrific scene they encountered, the pair calmly proceeded to uncoil the snake from around Wilkins' limp body, Collins said.

Despite struggling with the python, the officers eventually freed Wilkins, allowing him to breathe again.

A spokeswoman for the University of Cincinnati Medical Center told BuzzFeed News Wilkins was hospitalized in good condition.

Collins said the snake, a python Wilkins had been breeding, was placed back in its enclosure.

"What an incredible story, especially about police," Collins said. "They don't train you for this, but these two took no regard for themselves and they saved his life."

David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.

Contact David Mack at david.mack@buzzfeed.com.

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