TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. – A 14-foot python bit its handler and tried to drag her into its cage during a show at an aquarium, and wouldn't release the woman until a police officer zapped the reptile with a stun gun.
Alison Cobianchi, 18, was taking Chloe, a Burmese python, out of her cage for the daily snake presentation Saturday at the Tarpon Springs Aquarium when the snake wrapped itself around her arm and waist.
Visitors and aquarium employees kept the nonvenomous snake from pulling Cobianchi into the cage, but couldn't make it release its grip.
Police were called to help. "We either had to Taser it or we would have had to kill it," police Sgt. Allen MacKenzie said.
Cobianchi suffered puncture wounds on her wrist.
"It was definitely the most scary and painful thing that has ever happened to me," she said. "I knew I wasn't going to die, but I was worried I wouldn't get my hand back."
The snake was not seriously hurt by the stun gun.
Aquarium owner Scott Conger said Chloe bit him once while he was feeding her, but Cobianchi is the first employee seriously injured. He said the snake show was canceled indefinitely.
"She was my favorite animal that we had," Cobianchi said of Chloe. "Not anymore."
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating.