SACRAMENTO, Calif (Reuters) - Police in California's capital have arrested a man accused of biting a live python in what apparently was an unprovoked attack on the pet snake of an acquaintance.
The suspect, David Senk, 54, was jailed on Thursday evening on suspicion of unlawfully maiming or mutilating a reptile, while the snake, which was badly injured, underwent surgery, Sacramento police Sergeant Andrew Pettit said on Friday.
In a jailhouse interview aired on local station KOVR-TV in Sacramento, Senk said he had no recollection of the incident after having blacked out from drinking but felt "horrible as hell about it."
Asked why he might have bitten the snake, Senk replied, "I get drunk, I get crazy. I don't know. I've been an alcoholic for a long time."
Senk was taken into custody after police, responding to a report of an assault, found him lying on the ground with blood on his face. Officers were then approached by another man and a woman who told them Senk had just taken two large bites out of their python when they let him hold the snake, Pettit said.
"There was nothing to indicate that the snake provoked him at all. He (Senk) just out of the blue took a bite," the police spokesman said. "From what I understand, he didn't say anything. He was pretty incoherent."
Pettit added: "I think he did swallow some of the snake."
The couple turned over the python, which appeared to have a chunk of flesh torn from its body, to animal control officers who were called to the scene, and they took the snake to a veterinarian for emergency treatment, Pettit said.
The beige- and brown-colored snake, measuring 3 to 4 feet in length, was reported to be recovering after a veterinarian stitched up the reptile, Pettit said.
Police did not publicly identify the couple, but Pettit said the snake's owner and Senk were acquaintances.
KOVR reporter Derek Shore showed Senk photos of the snake's injuries, holding his mobile phone up to the glass partition at the downtown jail. Senk was clearly taken aback.
"Oh my God. I can't even tell what that is. I ripped it open? Oh, Geez," he said.
Senk said he was "not too fond of snakes (but) I try not to bite them," adding with a chuckle, "It's the other way around usually. They bite me."
(Writing by Steve Gorman; Additional reporting by Jan Ferris Heenan; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)