Page last updated at 00:23 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 01:23 UK

Man in South Carolina motel 'assaulted with python'

A python (file image)
The species of python was not named

Police in South Carolina have arrested a man who allegedly assaulted another guest at a motel with a four-ft (1.2m) python after a row over loud music.

The alleged victim, who was not badly injured, told police he had complained about music coming from the other man's room and they had had a row.

Hours later, the man came up to him from behind, tapped his shoulder and thrust the snake in his face, he said.

He was so shaken, he added, that he had to take a three-hour shower afterwards.

Tony Smith, 29, was charged with assault and battery after the altercation, police in Rock Hill said.

The Rock Hill police incident report lists the type of weapon used in the alleged assault on Jeffery Culp, 47, as "other".

'I don't do snakes'

Mr Culp was quoted by the local Herald newspaper as saying he had a fear of snakes and had told his attacker about it earlier in his stay at the motel, where he has been awaiting housing.

"He was out there running up and down the sidewalk with it," Mr Culp said.

"I told him I don't do snakes. I'm deathly afraid of them."

He said he had asked Mr Smith to turn his music down about nine in the evening as he had to get up for work the next day.

Mr Smith was, at the time, "with others racing down the hallway in chairs", Mr Culp added.

A couple of hours after the two exchanged words, Mr Culp went outside for a smoke with his wife and a neighbour when, he says, Mr Smith tapped him on the shoulder.

"And he said, 'Here look at this!'," Mr Culp said.

"He had the snake's head squeezed so its mouth was open. He ran it across my face and it tried to crawl in my mouth."

The snake grabbed him on the upper lip, and he has a few scratches from the encounter but Mr Culp said he did not need medical treatment.

Mr Smith was arrested and charged with assault and battery.

He handed over his snake to family members before his arrest.

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