Boy Rescued From Python

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Long Beach firefighters rescued a 9-year-old boy after a pet python wrapped itself around the child's leg and tried to devour his foot, officials said Sunday.

Alex Henry was treated by paramedics for minor puncture wounds from the teeth of the nonpoisonous snake after the attack Saturday at his family's home on East Arbor Road, Long Beach Fire Department spokesman Bob Caldon said.

The boy kept the 12-foot-long Burmese python in a cage in his bedroom. He had fed the snake a rabbit before it turned on him, Caldon said. The boy's screams were heard by neighbors, who called the Fire Department.

The boy was alone at the time of the attack, but his mother, Merlyn Kelly, arrived while firefighters tried to free her son.

Firefighters and paramedics found the reptile wrapped around the boy's right leg from knee to ankle.

"He was trying to unwrap it," Caldon said. "He couldn't get unwrapped, or get it to let go of his foot. The python had his entire foot inside of its mouth."

One firefighter grabbed the python's head while two others pried the reptile off the boy's leg, officials said.

A sheriff's deputy, who was at the scene, described Alex Henry's bedroom as that of a typical 9-year-old--except that it was full of glass cages with snakes, lizards and other animals.

City animal control officers cited Kelly for keeping the python, two other snakes, a scorpion, an iguana, and two tarantulas without a permit, Caldon said. The family was allowed to keep the python and the other pets on the condition that permits are obtained, he said.

"Apparently he plays with the snake all the time and he never has a problem with it," Caldon said. "Apparently the snake was still hungry."

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