A young child has died after she was strangled to death by a 12-foot python in rural Sumter County near Orlando.
The girl, identified as 2-year-old Cheyenna Hare, was found with the snake wrapped around her shortly before 10:00 a.m. this morning at a home in the city of Oxford.
The boyfriend of Hare's mother, Charles Darnell, said he stabbed the snake and called 911, according to wesh.com. The snake survived and was removed from the home by authorities, who said they may place the snake with a different owner after the investigation.
Darnell did not have a permit to have the large reptile, which is a misdemeanor. He hasn't been charged with anything.
The python was a family pet, kept in an aquarium, according to Darnell. There was another snake, a 6-foot boa constrictor, in the house.
Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are investigating at the scene.
Pythons kill by wrapping themselves around prey and constricting. The snakes, which aren't natives of Florida, can grow to as long as 25 feet. They have invaded the Everglades, so much so, that officials from President Obama on down to local politicians have marked them natural public enemies.
State legislators tried to pass a law this year that would have made it difficult to sell the invasive species at pet stores, but lobbyists defeated the proposal. Sen. Bill Nelson has proposed a bounty program to get the public involved in trapping and killing the large reptiles with no known natural predators.
The Burmese python really burst onto the scene a couple of years ago when a python was found split open when it tried to swallow an alligator whole.