It sounds like a nightmare almost too potent for Halloween, made all the worse because it's true: A Virginia woman was strangled to death by her pet python Tuesday after trying to administer medication. The 13-foot beast was a reticulated python from Southeast Asia, famed for being the longest species of snake in the world.
The husband of the victim, 25-year-old Amanda Ruth Black, found her lying on the floor late Tuesday night in front of a large, empty snake cage in an upstairs bedroom of their home, police spokesman Adam Bernstein said.
Animal-control officers found the snake, a reticulated python with tiger-stripe markings, in the room. The snake was "extremely agitated and required the force of two animal-control officers to restrain it," Bernstein said.
The python is being held at animal control facilities near Virginia Beach. There is no law in the area against keeping giant snakes, and while owner fatalities do occur, they are rare. Experts say a large python can exert a phenomenal amount of pressure during constriction—about seven or eight pounds per square inch.
Most fatalities from pet constrictors are accidents: Either the animal smells a food offering and mistakenly bites and wraps itself around the owner, or it feels threatened and lashes out.
To read more about all the terrifying creatures mother nature has to offer, check out BACKPACKER's Terror Index.