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Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2006, 19:26 GMT
Pet boa constrictor chokes owner
Boa constrictor (file photo)
Boa constrictors can make dangerous pets, experts say
A man has been choked to death by his pet boa constrictor at his home in the US city of Cincinnati, police say.

The 13-ft (3.9m) snake was still strangling Ted Dres' body when it was discovered by an acquaintance.

Members of an animal protection group removed the snake from the house after helping police officers free it.

An animal expert told the Associated Press news agency people were often unaware of the risks of keeping snakes such as boa constrictors as pets.

"People who keep these type of animals as pets should know exactly what they're doing and what they're capable of," Andy Mahlman, a spokesman for the Cincinnati Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said.

He warned reptile owners against wrapping such snakes around their necks, for instance when posing for photographs.

"They don't realise they could be a few seconds away from death," he was quoted as saying.

The snake would be housed at an animal shelter until Mr Dres' family had decided what to do with it, Mr Mahlman said.

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