The owner of a northern Kentucky reptile store is recovering after police officers pried off a 20-foot python that was crushing the man.

Newport police tell local news outlets that owner Terry Wilkens was feeding the snake Monday morning when the 125-pound python attacked.

Police Chief Tom Collins says Wilkens wasn't breathing when officers were trying to free him, but he did resume breathing before he was taken to a hospital. Collins says Wilkens' health appears to improving and he's even talking.

Collins says one of the two responding officers, Lt. Gregory Ripberger, knew to uncurl the snake by grabbing it from its head, eventually freeing Wilkens.

Police were working with animal control to determine if the python would need to be removed from the shop.