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Father rescues 18-month-old from grip of 80-pound python

After the man's python escapes and attacks his son, the man has the snake put to death.

A 13-foot pet python escaped from a house Wednesday night and grabbed an 18-month-old toddler, squeezing the breath out of the boy and biting him in the face.

His father pried the 80-pound reptile from around Nickolas Graham, who had plastic surgery at Leesburg Regional Medical Center to repair damage to his eye.

Nickolas will not lose the eye, the hospital reported Thursday.

His father Bill Broyles told authorities he didn't know his pet _ named Puppy _ had slithered out to the concrete patio where Nickolas was playing. The child's frantic mother called 911 while his father struggled to uncoil the snake from the child.

Broyles was bitten many times by the non-poisonous reptile as he struggled with it, rescue workers said. A Lake County animal control officer caught the snake shortly after the incident, and Broyles signed away ownership.

"I want him dead," Broyles said, wringing his blood-covered hands. "I don't want to see him again."

"I'm surprised the snake didn't kill the child," said Lake County Animal Control Officer Dave Bailey, who cornered the black, copper and brown snake in the Broyles' yard in the community about midway between Orlando and Ocala.

The snake was destroyed Thursday.

Having a 13-foot python in the house with a toddler is a recipe for disaster, a reptile breeder said.

The snake likely was hungry, said Bob Potts, owner of Herb Hobby Shop Reptile Breeding Center in Oldsmar. A python that size can easily wolf down two 15-pound rabbits in one sitting, Potts said. Pythons will bite, but they typically let go immediately, he said.

"When they bite and wrap, that indicates they are hungry," Potts said.

Several years ago in New York City, a 13-foot Burmese python attacked its 19-year-old owner and squeezed him to death. Authorities said the snake likely mistook Grant Williams for food.

Experts say large pythons should not be allowed to roam free. They can attack unpredictably and escape by pushing out a window or a screen with relative ease.

Bailey poked at the snake after placing it in the cage at the rear of his animal control truck.

"If you could feel that muscle, it's like steel," Bailey said.