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Woman bit by bathtime-hating python is healing well

The python is still a little freaked out, but the woman he bit is doing just fine, though her bite marks resemble a connect-the-dots image of a snake head.

Last Saturday night, police and fire officials were stumped when they were called to a South Buffalo house to provide emergency assistance to a woman who had been bitten by a snake. When they got there, they encountered a 2-foot-long ball python with its teeth and body still wrapped around the left hand of 26-year-old Mariah Toledo.

Toledo had been trying to give her pet python -- named RuPaul -- a warm bath, which pet pythons are supposed to enjoy. Not this one.

RuPaul -- named for a drag queen because it's hard to tell if it's male or female -- turned around and sunk its teeth into a fleshy part of Toledo's hand at the base of her thumb.

It turns out ball pythons, while not poisonous, have 80 or so short-but-sharp, inwardly facing teeth. If they don’t want to let a person go, there’s almost no way to forcibly pry them loose. Fire dispatchers attempted to reach the Buffalo Zoo for advice. When that failed, they tried the Erie County SPCA. After a bit of brainstorming, the snake let go after being threatened with a dousing of cold water.

Toledo said Thursday that she's healing up well, though RuPaul isn't up to being handled right now. The python is staying with Toledo's ex-boyfriend, Mike Nostro, because Toledo had moved in with her mother, who wasn't keen on the snake.

"RuPaul is more traumatized than I am and doesn't want to be around any human at the moment," she stated in an email. "The punctures are healing just fine though. I attached a picture of him in his cage and a funny picture my ex made."



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