What Gun for 15-Foot Long Man-Strangling Python?

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Here’s one police don’t encounter every day. At least not on this continent.

Officers responded to the 1400 block of Church Street in Fogelsville (Pennsylvania) shortly after 2 p.m. for the report of a man in cardiac arrest with a snake wrapped around his neck, township police said.

When patrol officers arrived on scene, they observed a 28-year-old man who was unresponsive and lying on the floor of the home with the mid portion of a large snake wrapped around his neck, according to the news release.

That didn’t leave the cops much choice.

Due to the size of the reptile (estimated to be 15+ feet), one of the officers was able to shoot the snake without risking further injury to the man, township police said. Once the snake was injured from the gunshot, the officers were able to pull the man to safety, at which time emergency medical care was provided, according to the news release. 

The man was taken to a hospital and media reports are sketchy as to his condition. We hear snake tastes a lot like chicken.

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  1. Hmm. I’d probably want a semi auto 12 gauge if I have stand off distance, but if it gets the drop on me I think a good, fairly large, very sharp knife.

    • Take its head off and it quits. 12 ga or big choppy stabby thing. Both would work.

      Who cuddles big reptiles? Darwin Award, maybe.

    • Okay, here’s a glimpse into my former life…

      Many moons ago, when I was much younger and Burmese/Indian (they are similar, but not the same) pythons were first being imported (they no longer are), I bought two babies. A male and a female. Within only a few years, the male grew to 50+ lbs and almost 13 feet. It was at that time I decided it was time to divest myself of them, as they were growing much too large to be merely “pets” anymore.

      There is one very simple way to avoid being bitten and constricted: Don’t smell like food. I always gave my hands and arms a spritz of Lysol, and nothing makes a snake care less about you than the scent of a hospital room countertop.

      Only once in my life was I ever bitten by one of them, and it was entirely my own fault. It was summertime, and I was sweaty as I reached in to remove them for the weekly cage-cleaning. Whamo! The male saw movement, smelled musk (cuz, you know, my highly masculine self, or whatever I can convince you to believe), latched his mouth onto my wrist, and proceeded to quickly wrap his then-10-foot-long self up around my arm, squeezing tightly.

      I immediately chided myself for not preparing properly, and reached for the nearby can of Lysol. I lightly sprayed some into the air, then moved him into the mist. That big boy immediately</b let go and relaxed. No need whatsoever to go bonkers and start spraying bullets.

        • 🤦‍♂️

          This one?

          Interesting tidbit about snakes. A nephew has a ball python, and I’ll mention this. The only pet we have now is Edgar, my daughter’s venus flytrap. Just fed him a fruitfly.

      • “Whamo! The male saw movement, smelled musk (cuz, you know, my highly masculine self, or whatever I can convince you to believe), latched his mouth onto my wrist…”

        The *one* time I was bitten by a snake, it was a non-venomous Florida Hog-nose snake, and I did smell like lunch. My mistake was, I had just cleaned out a Cuban tree-frog aquarium.

        Inadvertently, I smelled *exactly* like hog nosed lunch.

        I figured he just needed to realize “I wasn’t the lunch he was looking for”, and let go. After about 15 min, I headed into the bathroom and held his head underwater. That did the trick. The bite wasn’t painful, it felt like 80 grit sandpaper…

      • Wowie, I love stories like that. If I’m not ignorant a reptile never gets to really love you like a mammal?
        Never had a pet reptile very long.

        • In my experience, snakes will never show affection. Some tortoises will, kinda, and weirdly enough some lizards: bearded dragons if you spend a lot of time with them, and strangest of all, some members of the monitor family like the Tegu:


    • I don’t know if I’d want to use shotgun ammo when it was wrapped around a person. I guess it would depend on how far the snake’s head was from the person’s body

      • “I don’t know if I’d want to use shotgun ammo when it was wrapped around a person.”

        I dunno, that depends whether or not I was hoping she would want to divorce me… 🙂

  2. These snakes are wrecking havoc in the Everglades. Birdshot to the head works great on snakes. They have a bounty down here. They eat full grown gators and deer. You want an exotic hunt? Make it a Python hunt in the Everglades. One tourist we like.

        • Ah swamp type terrain, makes sense and thank you. Well if I didn’t already want to try an airboat ride you just upped the draw.

      • Never mind the pythons. It’s the water moccasins you better watch out for. They’re aggressive. Not a afraid of a rattlesnake. A cottonmouth? Damn spooking game. Shot on sight.

        • A long time ago I read that the cottonmouth is different from a rattlesnake in that if a rattlesnake bites you it will retreat if it can afterwards and a water moccasin will just keep biting you until YOU retreat. I don’t know if it’s true or not but it has stuck with me. I kill cottonmouths on sight and I don’t rattlesnakes.
          Pythons aren’t the only exotics we have to deal with. Do you remember when the adult King Cobra got loose from its owner over in Orlando about 7-8 years ago? They looked for that thing for weeks. I think it was eventually found under someone’s washing machine on their back porch. I’ll bet you can find nearly anything down in the glades.

    • Those things are all over. I used to do work in some of the large groves and ranches southeast of Arcadia and came across them a few times. One time one started to cross the road so I stopped and waited. Its head was about 3 foot off the road when its tail finally appeared. I measured the road and the snake was about 15 or 16 foot long.
      Told the ranch foreman about it and they said yeah they knew it was out there. And were hoping it would take some of the large hogs Looked at him and some of the workers who all were about 5’5″ or shorter and said dude if that thing can take a hog you would be even easier.

      Biggest one I ever saw was over by Rainey Slough. No idea how long but the opening its body was crossing as it fled was almost 16 foot wide and it’s head was several feet into the brush when it’s tail appeared. Was a bit jumpy when I was measuring if there had been any noise like a twig breaking or something I probably would have killed myself getting back to the truck.

      Now that they are hunting them I imagine they are hiding more.

      • Nah, snakes are not that self-aware that they will know to hide from a hunter. Also, it is more likely to catch a deer than a hog since pigs of all ages will run or more likely kill and eat a snake and deer tend to freeze when stalked. Yeah, I know about the white tail flag, have experienced it but I also have killed a few that have not been able to scent me. also know that hogs are way easier to trap than to hunt on the ground (why they use dogs.).

    • “00 buck. I hate snakes.”

      It’s literally hard-wired into the mammal’s brain.

      Pure instinctive…

    • Jason, it’s funny you say that. Rick and I were driving around a new hunting lease around ’87. I saw what I knew was a very large Eastern Diamondback. We caught her live. She would have brought big money at the Rattlesnake Roundup in Wigham, but we didn’t have anything to keep the snake in alive that was safe. So, I stabbed it in the head with a Gerber Skookum pocket knife. The snake was 7’7″ long. 12 rattles. You gonna live in Florida you better get used to vipers.

  3. What Gun for 15-Foot Long Man-Strangling Python?


    Any caliber to the head or even the body will take the fight out of that snake in very short order.

      • “what gun do you give to a fifteen foot long man engaged in python strangling?”

        Besides being able to fully operate it with one hand? 🙂

        The tendency for humans to be wary of snakes is hard-wired into our brains.

        Snakes evolved after mammals showed up, and mammals were their natural prey.

        Leave a rubber snake where a sleeping cat is, and watch the reaction when the cat wakes up sees it. There are numerous YouTube videos showing the effect.

        It’s *instantly* effective…

    • Gov. That’s funny! Most of the big rattlers I’ve killed have been incidental to turkey, or bow hunting. I generally find a stick to hit them over the head with. It doesn’t spook the other game as much as a gunshot. Yeah, I know, no guns while bow hunting. I don’t care. I’m carrying my 4″ stainless Kit Gun. The government is just going to have to get over that.

  4. James, I don’t know where you live, but here we have the alligator snapping turtle. When I was young I picked up a small one. I found that they have a very long neck and sharp, strong jaws. I’ve left them be since.

    • I was making a joke.
      I’ve seen those Florida alligator snapping turtles bite thru large sticks. No joke.

      In Texas now, get to deal with Bobcats.

      • Got bobcats too. I have one done as a rug. Another as a full body mount. I just let them walk now. They’re only hunting. Like me.

        • We’ve had a few neighbors lose pets out of their backyards.
          Was grilling late in the backyard a few weeks ago and heard a loud thump on the 7ft wood fence (a few feet away), looked up and saw an adult bobcat (over 30 lbs) perched on the top board and staring back at me. We stared at each other for what seemed like a minute, then he jumped off the fence and was gone.
          Four feet away was too close for comfort.
          Bet he was looking for rabbits, cats, or small dogs.

        • Geoff – No! The Florida Panther is the largest panther in the northern hemisphere (I’m pretty sure anyway) and the bobcat is like a 30 pound house cat with no tail. Much smaller. Biggest bobcat I ever saw was about 35 pounds taken by my ex brother in law outside of Leesburg Ga.
          Don’t get me wrong – Bobcats are dangerous animals. I remember an Outdoor life story many years ago where a guy was attacked by 5-6 bobcats and they nearly killed him.
          Think of bobcat like a Lynx and a Florida Panther like a Jaguar.

      • Second-strongest bite force among reptiles, at around 1200-1500 psi.
        The strongest being the American alligator, at over 2000 psi.

    • I learned that the hard way too as a kid. Was trying to get one loose that was hanging on my grandfathers stringer of fish. Thing latched into me when I made the mistake of grabbing it by the base of the tail.

    • Ohio snapping turtles are bad enough for me. My brother and I were bowfishing for carp in a river one night, when we saw a 15″ snapper wallowing around the undercut bank at a sharp bend. Brother shot, but his arrow bounced off the shell. We danced around a bit in our waders, until we had eyes on him again. Brother was shooting a 45 lb recurve, but I had my compound set to 65, and I got him through the side.

      Curried Turtle:
      turtle meat, cut into 3/4″ cubes and fried in butter or bacon fat
      cooked brown rice, with a scoop of cooked carrots&peas for color
      coarsely chopped onion, lightly cooked
      fresh chopped apple
      curry powder, salt, and black pepper to taste

      Oh man!

    • It wasn’t anything to do with 6.5 Creedmore. Is that caliber even a thing anymore? I knew it would fade away.

      • 6.5CM is in its “Elvis singing for housewives” stage. 🙂

        The hot new kaliber kid on the block looks to be 6mm Creedmoor right now. Which is really just a modernized .243 Win. And 6mm ARC, it’s AR-15 sized little brother.

        • Yeah it does seem the 6.5 creedmoor craze died down. I wonder if the ammo scarcity of the last few years drove it down faster. I liked the round, but never got into it because I just had this feeling it would disappear like all the other new wonder rounds.

      • It’s definitely still around. It’s just become a mainstay, so there isn’t a lot of hype anymore.

  5. Snakes may taste like chicken, but chickens won’t eat your dog, the livestock, your wife, your kids, and then you.

  6. It don’t take much to kill one especially at point blank.
    Ask yourself this: is this the fault of the snake or the guy? That’s who needs it

  7. Pete, the snake may have gotten Fluffy, and Fluffy may have been a pet. Odds are, so was the python. Or, it’s a descendent of a released pet. Most of these invasive species (pythons are only one) are released here by those that don’t understand Florida. You can read “Damn Yankees”. It’s cute until it gets too big, but was their pet. So they won’t kill it. They just turn it loose. Pasco County is under quarantine because of Giant African Snails. They’re incredibly destructive. Of course, the most destructive invasive species is the aforementioned “Damn Yankees”. Stay where you are. Do not move here.
    It’s hot and humid. Hurricanes. More people killed by lightning than any other state. Golf is deadly here. Even we don’t like Disney anymore. And native Floridians own a shit load of guns. Best you stay away.

    • The snails are back? We used to have them down in Homestead years ago. They ate the stucco off the walls and were infested with some nasty worm that could kill pets. They had a massive extermination program and managed to remove them. They paid us kids $1 for each snail brought in and that was a lot of money. Each was worth as much as 25 coke bottles.

    • I live in Pasco county. We had a outbreak of meningitis about 5 years ago and they couldn’t figure out where it came from. Now we know I think.

  8. For a gun, a .410 with some #4 shot, or a simple machete. Machete was weapon of choice when I was in Panama, dispatched everything from boa’s to bushmasters.

    If quickly cleaned and well prepared, snake is an excellent protein to enjoy. Skins make great plaques, hat bands and boots.

    • Boston, now that you mention it I have a 6″ stainless Python. Never killed a snake with it that I recall. I never liked shooting rattlesnakes. Especially if they were big. I wanted the hide intact. That’s why I always looked for a big stick. Funny, but typical, story for me. I’m working. Circle Dr. Single family dwellings, small acreage, a little woodsy. There lays a 5′ Diamondback. I stopped, got out, found a fallen oak limb and gave him a couple of wacks on the head for his trouble. About that time I heard, “What you doin’?” I turned to see an elderly black woman standing on her front porch. I picked the snake up just behind the head and said, “I’m killing this snake.” The snake had obviously just crawled from her yard. I don’t know if African Americans can turn pale, but if they can, she did. Threw it in the trunk of my patrol car and took it home. I’ve still got the hide somewhere.

      • My woods critter (slithering, 4 or 2 legged walking) pistol is a Colt Trooper Mk III. I’d have a stroke if I scratched my Python. I shoot it occasionally but I do baby it.

  9. Snakes, even big ones, are hideously easy to kill with blunt trauma. Hoe, shovel, ball bat, heel of a boot. In this case safest for all involved would have been to run a knife through the brain if you have your balls on. You always have your knife right? If you dont hit the brain they will slither off and die eventually. Or maybe not. I am not a huge snake killer three or four a year, mostly copper heads around here. Never dealt with a really big one.
    A few years ago one of these got out during the night and killed two young brothers in a house.

  10. The only snake I have experience with is the Rattlesnake. I used a 44 magnum loaded with #7.5 snake loads. Also they do taste like chicken But there is very little meat on them.

  11. Cute. The rule on handling pythons is one person for every 3 feet of snake.

    The only real solution for this situation is a smarter human. And among a lot of people who have snakes as pets, that “smarter human” thing probably ain’t gonna happen.

    All the cop did was interfere with Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

  12. To defend yourself or extricate another? Mostly I’d pick a blade if it comes to that.

    Getting an ~7ft African Rock Python off my buddy years back was… fun. That took two of us, plus him “helping” as he could, about 20 minutes and when we finally got it off he went straight to the ER for the nice, 1″ deep puncture wounds in his forearm.

    Not a beginner’s snake. Mean as hell. He was pretty experienced with snakes but I never did and never will understand why he had that particular species. If you don’t have some good reason to own one they seem like nothing but a liability to me.

    • “Getting an ~7ft African Rock Python…”

      Wait, I thought the African Rock Python was nasty venomous?

      Like bites can be lethal?

      I looked at them at a local yearly convention center reptile show years back, and wasn’t brave enough to try one of the ‘Hot Herps”.

      My only snake (besides the one they kept at work years back) was a gorgeous plain vanilla red (corn-rat) snake…

      • Nah, ARPs are a constrictor. Big fangs just hold on to whatever they bite so the snake can get coils around it and control the victim. Heck of a mouth to pry off someone’s arm. (Guess which job I got in this little debacle?)

        They’re mean, fast and strong but not venomous. At the size this one was they can put some nasty holes in you and maybe break your arm. Pretty snakes but not worth the eye candy IMHO. If you want a python, Ball or Carpet is the way to go IMHO unless you’re really experienced and have some sort of reason to have something else (reason other than “it’s a pet”).

        Larger ones probably can kill you if they get a coil around your neck or if they hole-punch a major artery but I’m not aware of anyone in the US dying due to a ARP attack, which doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened but it’s not common. Deaths from these snakes in Africa are quite rare though they have a well deserved fearsome reputation.

        Black Mambas OTOH, are extremely venomous and also aggressive. Even elephants give them a wide berth. Those things will charge at you and chase you a decent distance if they’re mad and they’re not exactly slow either. ARPs are mean, Mambas are actually pretty damn scary in general and especially if you know anything about the neurotoxin they use.

  13. I believe snakes are considered exotic pets. But an exotic pet monkey tore the face off of a woman. And in another snake incident the reptile wrapped itself around a baby in the crib, and strangled child to death.
    Using any firearm would probably put a hole in your home somewhere. But a headshot would certainly be the best.

    Whatever you use I would pull the trigger several times.

  14. I would definatly go with a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with medium BIRDSHOT not buckshot. Probable pattern spread is only about 1 inch per yard of stand off range. Probable penetration depth would be 3 to 5 inches in snake soft tissue. This is more than adequate to kill the biggest snake but might be survivable for a human if you screwed up.

    • This is more than adequate to kill the biggest snake but might be survivable for a human if you screwed up.

      If screwing up is a concern then pick a better tool for the job.

      If someone’s wrapped up by a snake and you end up shooting the snake AND the person when other options were available, like a knife, they should thank you for saving them as you’re led to court on your way to a short stint in prison (not jail).

      Being stupid should come with a reasonably high price.


    In the early 1960’s in Cleveland Ohio ON LIVE TV a Naturalist and animal showman called “Jungle Larry” was on a TV show called “Captain Penny”.

    Capitan Penny was terrified of snakes but Jungle Larry talked him into letting him put a python onto Captain Penny. The snake sensing panic and fear in Captain Penny started to kill him.

    A huge amount of people rushed in to save the Captain but to no avail. Jungle Larry had to pull off the would be rescuers and once that was done Jungle Larry simply ripped back one of the snakes belly scales which produces the type of pain and shock a human would suffer if you ripped off one of your finger nails. This sent the snake into immediate shock and Jungle Larry was able to simply push the snake down and off of the Captain.


    My grandfather was once attacked by a snake that latched onto his arm and started to crush it. I cannot remember which kind of snake it was as this was decades ago. Despite the fact that the snake was nowhere near as large as a killer python the amount of pain my grandfather was in was horrific. He said it felt as if his arm was being crushed underneath a giant boulder rock. He said it was amazing that despite the snakes size it was that powerful. My Grandmother took a piece of rope and strangled the snake until it relaxed its grip on my Grandfather’s arm and the snake was then easily removed from my Grandfather’s arm.


    Back in 1973 I was fishing and when returning to my car I walked across some train tracks and spied a huge black colored snake. When the snake rose up to give me a good look over his height was easily as tall as my waist. I decided to see if I could catch it and ran toward it. The snake took off as fast as it could go and despite my running full speed I could not come even close to catching it. Then the tables were suddenly turned because the snake suddenly turned and now was attacking me. I had on me a S&W 41 Magnum loaded with my snake handloads comprised of shot (44 magnums were a scarce as hen’s teeth in those days because of the Dirty Harry Movies and .44 magnum craze). The first shot hit the snake about a foot in back of the head almost severing it but the maddend beast still kept coming. I then took one last desperate shot at almost point blank range as the viscous beast was now upon me. I managed to hit it this time in the head killing it. It taught me a lesson I never forgot and that is you probably could never outrun a snake that was hunting you. Dangerous beasts are nothing to fool with because you are on their territory and they know every trick in the book if they want to get you. But unlike humans breasts are usually more predictable.

  16. Damn humans, damn cops.
    Trigger happy and quick to judge.
    The guy keeled over and the snake was trying it’s best version of CPR.
    No good deed does unpunished.

  17. I really like my power to bruise a serpent’s head. Snakes are actually very easy to kill with anything you have, even a bootheel. My father taught me how to grab moccasin and rattler by the tail and “whiplash” them it wrecks their spines…but they were only 3,4,5 feet long. Also, snake does not taste like chicken per se, the texture is off, but it is very edible. Lots of bones though.


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