The 28-year-old is recovering in hospital from the attack. The injured snake slipped and eventually died from its injuries, Upper Macungie Township Police Department Lt. Peter Nickischer told CNN.
Nickischer said two police officers responded at 2:12 p.m. Wednesday at the home in Fogelsville, Pa., a rural town in the eastern part of the state, where the man allegedly suffered cardiac arrest after the snake coiled up around his throat.
He said that after entering the house, officers encountered a family member who guided them to the male owner, who lay unresponsive, choking on the midsection of the snake. The snake was at least 15 feet long, he said.
“It was a dire situation,” Nickischer said. “It was definitely a life or death situation for this person.”
He said when officers looked down a hallway, they observed the man lying on the other side of the door between the hallway and a room, where the snake was watching the police. Nickischer said an officer fired a shot, hitting the snake’s head, which was away from the man due to the length of the animal’s body.
He said CNN agents moved the victim away from the snake and into the living room, where several firefighters and emergency medical services responders administered emergency care before transporting the man to the hospital.
The man kept the snake at home as a pet, and officers found two other snakes in the house, Nickischer said.
He credited the officers with making a “split-second decision” that saved the man’s life. He said he was convinced the man would have died otherwise.
“I’m in 19th grade. We’ve had some pretty awful calls,” Nickischer said. “It’s definitely the one that would be at the top of my list.”