Officers rescue store owner crushed by 125-pound python

Python Vs. Police: Two Officers Save Owner of Captive Born Reptiles from Being Strangled in Pet Store

NEWPORT, Ky. (AP) — 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.

RELATED: See photos of Florida's python problem

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Officers rescue store owner crushed by 125-pound python
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Jenny Ketterlin Eckles (L) a non-native Wildlife Biologist, and Edward Mercer, non-native Wildlife Technician, both with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hold a North African Python during a press conference in the Florida Everglades about the non-native species on January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission along with the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA), Miami-Dade County, National Park Service, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Geological Survey, University of Florida were surveying an area for the Northern African pythons (also called African rock pythons) and the Burmese Python in western Miami-Dade County. The teams of snake hunters were checking the levees, canals and marsh on foot for the invasive species of reptile. Many of the non-native snakes have been introduced in to the wild when people release pet snakes after they grow to large to keep. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Edward Mercer, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission non-native Wildlife Technician, holds a North African Python during a press conference in the Florida Everglades about the non-native species on January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission along with the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA), Miami-Dade County, National Park Service, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Geological Survey, University of Florida were surveying an area for the Northern African pythons (also called African rock pythons) and the Burmese Python in western Miami-Dade County. The teams of snake hunters were checking the levees, canals and marsh on foot for the invasive species of reptile. Many of the non-native snakes have been introduced in to the wild when people release pet snakes after they grow to large to keep. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Jenny Ketterlin Eckles (L) a non-native Wildlife Biologist, and Edward Mercer, non-native Wildlife Technician, both with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hold a North African Python during a press conference in the Florida Everglades about the non-native species on January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission along with the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA), Miami-Dade County, National Park Service, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Geological Survey, University of Florida were surveying an area for the Northern African pythons (also called African rock pythons) and the Burmese Python in western Miami-Dade County. The teams of snake hunters were checking the levees, canals and marsh on foot for the invasive species of reptile. Many of the non-native snakes have been introduced in to the wild when people release pet snakes after they grow to large to keep. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: A volunteer hunts for Northern African rock pythons and other non-native snakes in the Florida Everglades on January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The National Park Service along with The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA), Miami-Dade County, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Geological Survey, University of Florida were surveying an area for the Northern African pythons (also called African rock pythons) and the Burmese Python in western Miami-Dade County. The teams of snake hunters were checking the levees, canals and marsh on foot for the invasive species of reptile. Many of the non-native snakes have been introduced in to the wild when people release pet snakes after they grow to large to keep. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Jake Edwards, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission non-native Wildlife Technician, hunts for Northern African rock pythons and other non-native snakes in the Florida Everglades on January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The National Park Service along with The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA), Miami-Dade County, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Geological Survey, University of Florida were surveying an area for the Northern African pythons (also called African rock pythons) and the Burmese Python in western Miami-Dade County. The teams of snake hunters were checking the levees, canals and marsh on foot for the invasive species of reptile. Many of the non-native snakes have been introduced in to the wild when people release pet snakes after they grow to large to keep. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Emily Kluga (L-R), Molly Conway and Jillian Josimovich, volunteers with the National Park Service, take a break from hunting for Northern African rock pythons and other non-native snakes in the Florida Everglades on January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The National Park Service along with The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA), Miami-Dade County, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Geological Survey, University of Florida were surveying an area for the Northern African pythons (also called African rock pythons) and the Burmese Python in western Miami-Dade County. The teams of snake hunters were checking the levees, canals and marsh on foot for the invasive species of reptile. Many of the non-native snakes have been introduced in to the wild when people release pet snakes after they grow to large to keep. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Emily Kluga (L) and Molly Conway, both of whom are volunteers with the National Park Service, hunt for Northern African rock pythons and other non-native snakes in the Florida Everglades on January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The National Park Service along with The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA), Miami-Dade County, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Geological Survey, University of Florida were surveying an area for the Northern African pythons (also called African rock pythons) and the Burmese Python in western Miami-Dade County. The teams of snake hunters were checking the levees, canals and marsh on foot for the invasive species of reptile. Many of the non-native snakes have been introduced in to the wild when people release pet snakes after they grow to large to keep. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Emily Kluga, a volunteer with the National Park Service, hunts for Northern African rock pythons and other non-native snakes in the Florida Everglades on January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The National Park Service along with The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA), Miami-Dade County, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Geological Survey, University of Florida were surveying an area for the Northern African pythons (also called African rock pythons) and the Burmese Python in western Miami-Dade County. The teams of snake hunters were checking the levees, canals and marsh on foot for the invasive species of reptile. Many of the non-native snakes have been introduced in to the wild when people release pet snakes after they grow to large to keep. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Emily Kluga (L) and Molly Conway, both of whom are volunteers with the National Park Service, hunt for Northern African rock pythons and other non-native snakes in the Florida Everglades on January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The National Park Service along with The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA), Miami-Dade County, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Geological Survey, University of Florida were surveying an area for the Northern African pythons (also called African rock pythons) and the Burmese Python in western Miami-Dade County. The teams of snake hunters were checking the levees, canals and marsh on foot for the invasive species of reptile. Many of the non-native snakes have been introduced in to the wild when people release pet snakes after they grow to large to keep. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Volunteers hunt for Northern African rock pythons and other non-native snakes in the Florida Everglades on January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The National Park Service along with The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA), Miami-Dade County, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Geological Survey, University of Florida were surveying an area for the Northern African pythons (also called African rock pythons) and the Burmese Python in western Miami-Dade County. The teams of snake hunters were checking the levees, canals and marsh on foot for the invasive species of reptile. Many of the non-native snakes have been introduced in to the wild when people release pet snakes after they grow to large to keep. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Volunteers hunt for Northern African rock pythons and other non-native snakes in the Florida Everglades on January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The National Park Service along with The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA), Miami-Dade County, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Geological Survey, University of Florida were surveying an area for the Northern African pythons (also called African rock pythons) and the Burmese Python in western Miami-Dade County. The teams of snake hunters were checking the levees, canals and marsh on foot for the invasive species of reptile. Many of the non-native snakes have been introduced in to the wild when people release pet snakes after they grow to large to keep. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Emily Kluga, a volunteer with the National Park Service, carries a bag in case she found a python as she hunts for Northern African rock pythons and other non-native snakes in the Florida Everglades on January 29, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The National Park Service along with The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (ECISMA), Miami-Dade County, South Florida Water Management District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Geological Survey, University of Florida were surveying an area for the Northern African pythons (also called African rock pythons) and the Burmese Python in western Miami-Dade County. The teams of snake hunters were checking the levees, canals and marsh on foot for the invasive species of reptile. Many of the non-native snakes have been introduced in to the wild when people release pet snakes after they grow to large to keep. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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