A Pennsylvania man who was strangled by a pet snake before police killed it last week has died, officials said.
Elliot Senseman, 27, of Upper Macungie Township, died at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Cedar Crest on Sunday morning, the Lehigh County coroner’s office said in a news release.
The death, which was ruled accidental, was caused by anoxic brain injury after asphyxiation by constriction, the office said. Responding officers initially estimated the snake was 15 feet long, but its length later was measured at 18 feet.
“A Boa Constrictor type snake approximately 18’ in length constricted around the neck of Mr. Senseman, thus causing the anoxic brain injury (complete lack of oxygen to the brain),” the release says.
Police told WTXF-TV that the snake was the man’s pet and that several other snake enclosures were found in the home.
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Officers with the Upper Macungie Township Police Department responded Wednesday to the home of a man “in cardiac arrest with a snake wrapped around his neck.” Senseman was found unresponsive, and one of the officers “was face-to-face with this snake” and shot it in the head when it was away from his body, Lt. Peter Nickischer told local news station WFMZ.
The snake didn’t die immediately, but it let go of Senseman and allowed officers to pull him away. Senseman received medical care immediately and was taken to the hospital. The snake later died.
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,” Nickischer said Monday.
Snake attacks by strangulation are rare in the United States; most attacks are venomous snake bites. An Indiana woman was killed in 2019 after she was strangled by an 8-foot reticulated python.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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