Pennsylvania Man Dies From Injuries After Being Suffocated by Pet Boa Constrictor

by Emily Morgan

A Pennsylvania man met his tragic demise after his pet boa constrictor suffocated him to death.

Last week, when police arrived at the 27-year-old’s home in Upper Macungie Township, Pennsylvania, they attempted to save him as his pet snake suffocated him.

Authorities proceeded to shoot the reptile, but sadly it was too late. According to the local coroner, the young man, known as Elliot Senseman, died after being unable to breathe for so long, per Fox News.

The coroner announced that Senseman died from an anoxic brain injury due to asphyxiation by constriction, meaning that the ravenous reptile entirely cut off oxygen to his brain.

Last Wednesday afternoon, local police were called to the home around 2 p.m. local time. Upon arrival, officers found Senseman collapsed on the floor with the pet snake wrapped around his neck. As a result, authorities shot the animal in the head to free Senseman.

According to Upper Macungie Township Lt. Peter Nickischer, the snake’s head was far enough away from its owner that the officer was able to shoot the snake. However, almost immediately after shooting the snake, the snake slithered off.

“Had he not done that, I don’t know how they would have released the male from the grasp of the snake,” he said in an interview following the incident.

Soon after firing the round, the snake died from the gunshot wound. Later, authorities also found other snake enclosures inside the home.

Paramedics took Senseman to a local hospital, but he was tragically pronounced dead on Sunday at 8:11 a.m.

Experienced snake handler devoted life to rehoming boa constrictors

Before he passed away, Senseman had been cleaning the cages of his three snakes. However, the reptile became aggressive, according to a family member.

His grandmother called 911 and followed snake handling procedures until police arrived on the scene. Interestingly, Senseman was an experienced snake handler who had worked with boa constrictors since he was 10.

At 21, Senseman began adopting snakes from owners who could no longer care for them. As an avid snake lover, he studied their specific temperaments and natural environments.

“A lot of times the snakes were neglected or mistreated and needed medical care,” the family member told the Daily Beast. “He would provide all of that.”

Rudy Arceo, the founder of the Venom Institute, said snakes maintain their grip by wrapping around whatever is holding them.

If a snake is trying to inflict pain, it will bite before coiling. Humans are typically too large to succumb to their grasp. However, there are exceptions.

“But if you put this snake around your neck, and you’re walking around hanging out with it or whatever, they will wrap around and they’ll just basically try to maintain balance,” Arceo said. “And unfortunately, if you’re not paying attention, they can get around your neck, and then when you try to actually push-pull away from it, it can be really difficult.”