'Snake Man' called in to coax python from woman's engine
OMRO, Wis. (WLUK) -- A driver and her son having some car trouble pull over and pop open the hood -- to find themselves staring into a serpent's eyes.
"I've never done anything like this before in my life! Most of my rescues are taking them out of people's houses," said Steve Keller.
Keller is the self-proclaimed "Snake Man" who pulled the serpent from the woman's SUV.
The slithering surprise sent Omro police racing to Keller for help. They brought the "Snake Man" in for backup when the ball python wrapped itself tight around an unsuspecting driver's engine.
"I don't know why I risked my own body for a snake, but I did, it's what I do," Keller said.
Keller says the python, native to Africa and used to much warmer temperatures, found heat under the hood and got cozy.
"Getting one unwrapped from an engine block was not fun. I've got all kinds of cuts and bruises on my arms from trying to dig into this thing and try to get him out in one piece," Keller said.
It took hours, a tow truck and a "Snake Man" to get the stubborn python out.
The SUV's engine was damaged by the snake. The animal is also being treated for cuts and burns.
"We got him out in one piece, but the burns could turn into a fatality in a couple of weeks; we don't know until it has some time to heal," said Keller.
The "Snake Man" has rescued over 500 of these critters in the past 12 years. Keller says this rescue was a first, and one of his toughest.
Police say the snake escaped from its owner more than a month ago. Omro police say it's illegal to own a ball python and they've fined the snake's owner $313.