A pet python that underwent surgery after being bitten by a Sacramento man is "looking a ton better," Sacramento animal control officials said today.

The man who allegedly bit the female snake, 54-year-old David Elmer Senk, has been in custody in the Sacramento Jail since Thursday on $10,000 bail. Police arrested him on charges of maiming/mutilating a reptile.

Gina E. Knepp, acting animal care services manager for the city of Sacramento, said surgery that the snake received Thursday saved her life.

"She is looking a ton better, she was really dehydrated," Knepp said, adding that the owner of the snake has not yet made contact with animal services. "We would very much like to place the python in an appropriate rescue."

Knepp said the snake is "very touchable" and "not the kind of python that sinks its incisors in you."

According to police and animal control officials' accounts, a few people were admiring a woman's pet python outside a liquor store in Del Paso Heights Thursday evening, passing it around and getting a feel for it.

And that's when Senk allegedly took two big bites out of the python, Knepp said.

Sacramento police responded to the 3600 block of Marysville Boulevard about 6:30 p.m. Thursday on a call about a man who had been assaulted and was not responsive.

The owner of the snake allegedly had beaten Senk up after she said he bit her pet, said Sgt. Andrew Pettit of the Sacramento Police Department.

When police arrived, a witness told them about the man's scaly tastes, and animal control was called to treat the snake.

"While it was being passed around, the snake was just dangling, limp in their hands. That's very unusual for this kind of snake; they like to ball around your arm," Knepp said. "It was clearly not healthy. Apparently the woman keeps it in her backpack and takes it everywhere with her."

The snake lost a couple of ribs, Knepp said, and has several stitches. She is receiving antibiotics.

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