Man dies days after police shot an 18-foot boa constrictor wrapped around his neck - FaunaClassifieds
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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 07-25-2022, 02:59 PM   #1
Socratic Monologue
Man dies days after police shot an 18-foot boa constrictor wrapped around his neck

Man dies days after police shot an 18-foot boa constrictor wrapped around his neck

A man taken to an eastern Pennsylvania hospital last week after police shot a boa constrictor that was around his neck has died of his injuries, authorities said.

The Lehigh County coroner's office said Monday that 27-year-old Elliot Senseman died Sunday morning at Lehigh Valley Hospital, Cedar Crest. The cause of death was listed as anoxic brain injury due to asphyxiation by constriction and the manner of death was ruled accidental.

"A boa constrictor-type snake approximately 18 feet in length constricted around the neck of Mr. Senseman, thus causing the anoxic brain injury (complete lack of oxygen to the brain)," the coroner's office said.

Police were called to the Fogelsville home shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday on a report of a man in cardiac arrest with the middle portion of a snake wrapped around his neck, CBS Philadelphia reported.

Police said an officer was able to shoot the snake's head without hurting Senseman, and he was given medical aid and taken to the hospital. The snake died.

Upper Macungie Township police and the coroner's office are investigating. Police told WTXF-TV that the snake was the man's pet and several other snake enclosures were found inside the home.

Lt. Peter Nickischer said Monday that investigators don't know the circumstances of the attack because "the dire situation" precluded "extended interviews ... about the snake, its origin, or anything along those lines."

The incident marks at least the second snake-related fatality in the U.S. in July. Earlier this month, a 6-year-old boy died days after he was bitten by a rattlesnake while on a family bike ride near Colorado Springs.


For those who (like me) don't know much about Boa constrictor, this snake was not one as B.c doesn't get that long.

It is unfortunate (though not necessarily inadvertent) that the report failed to include a little about the fact that this snake was apparently not being handled responsibly. Perhaps an extended version of this would be more appropriate for followup articles, but a mention in this one would have both been appropriate and given readers valuable interpretive context. This would have been a much more pertinent (but hey, less fearmongering) tidbit than mentioning that a kid was killed by a wild rattlesnake recently, of all the almost completely irrelevant things to mention here.

Anyway, I don't accurately remember the specific recommendations (I don't own big snakes) but I recall reading that a snake over 8 feet needs two handlers and another handler for every X more feet of snake, and a plan for the secondary handlers to remove and/or dispatch the snake in such situations.
Old 07-26-2022, 09:56 PM   #2
Bill Lamoro
I assure you there are no 18 ft. Boa Constrictors that kill and coil around the guys neck for 4 days until a cop shot it in the head. That has to be such and idiotic story I could hardly read it. I will start looking for daily horrific car crashes that the people are in really unrecognizable shape. I never see those sensational stories. If you believe the signs drive responsibly maybe people will learn don't put constricting snakes around your neck. People that can keep them safley should in the pursuit of their happiness not be hounded by ignorants that want the government to stomp on everyones rights except of course their own. Let's get some real facts in these articles and start contacting who wrote them and reading them the riot act. Kid that got bitten near me in Colorado, got bitten just out doing what kids do. The government cannot protect the population against life.
Old 07-26-2022, 10:18 PM   #3
Socratic Monologue
I took it to mean that the man died some days after the incident, not that the incident lasted for days. Presumably the brain injury caused by the incident was not an injury that he could recover from (was probably on some degree of life support).

I agree with the rest of your sentiments -- those were my thoughts too when I read the article.
Old 07-27-2022, 11:35 AM   #4
Bill Lamoro
Unfortunely I read on Yahoo various people with little to no experience with anything other than a pet dog, cat or fish etc.

These types of people have little awarness of biology or the world they live in. They live under the spell of everything on the planet is safe for them and their children. If something occurs with a wild creature they want it gone, if it is an exotic (all of them in one class) they call for state and federal bans to protect them and their children against them. Time and time again I have heard the argument that the male chimp that severly injured the women should not be kept as a domestic pet. I completely agree along with tigers and other of those types of creatures. In that case either a permit to possess after inspection for the caging, safety methods in place etc. but not just and out-right ban except on the Chimps,Gorrillas and Orangutans. Never just group everything under the same umbrella because it is easy and you are outraged and want it changed. Just to say "all exotic animals" should not be kept, imported etc. This go against the very premise of why my Father fought the war to protect our rights as a people to pursue happiness. That is what I take great acception to with the masses picketting the pet shop so to speak. I hate to class humans as stupid because they are not, just ignorant as hell of nature and the planet as opposed to their little secure universe. I am sorry the guy died but if a novice possibly the snake pulling back and facing him in his face he reacted by catching it behind the head. That is a no no when it is around your neck. They preseave it as a threat and act accordingly. Takes only less than a minute for a wresstlers hold called a sleeper to put you unconcious by compressing the juglar vein. Use your head everyday. Most of what you encounter in the world around you could at some time or other be dangerous.
Old 07-27-2022, 03:31 PM   #5
I stopped reading after "man dies after police shoot 18 foot Boa wrapped around his neck".

This is why the News sucks. They get to say what they want. Facts dont even matter.
Old 07-27-2022, 03:51 PM   #6
True. But then again, this little bit of misinformation may work to save the next uneducated-in-reptile-care owner. Maybe the sound bites '18 feet' and 'dies' may make them avoid personal relationships with large snakes. After all, the poor snake died as well.
Old 07-28-2022, 08:17 PM   #7
Well I man technically, an anaconda is a boa. And anacondas get to 18+ feet so maybe it was an anaconda?
Old 07-28-2022, 08:20 PM   #8
There were pics in other articles. It was a retic.
Old 07-30-2022, 05:23 PM   #9
rocket scientist
I figured it was either a retic or a Burmese.
Old 08-30-2022, 01:23 AM   #10
rocket scientist
Rule of thumb for handling large-bodied snakes

Anyway, I don't accurately remember the specific recommendations (I don't own big snakes) but I recall reading that a snake over 8 feet needs two handlers and another handler for every X more feet of snake, and a plan for the secondary handlers to remove and/or dispatch the snake in such situations.

RULE OF THUMB: One responsible adult handler per 4 feet of snake

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