TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)—Molly Brawn has owned an 8 foot reticulated python for 8 years.
"I call her big-bertha but she doesn't really have a name,” said Brawn. "We've had hundreds of different species. But they're my favorite."
Brawn was also a friend to 36-year-old Laura Hurst. She said Hurst positively impacted everyone she encountered.
"She was very passionate about snakes and was very big in the reptile community. "
Brawn said Hurst would do anything to help others.
"She saved one of our ball pythons I think it was about three and a half years ago."
She said she was hurt to hear of Hurst's death and said it's uncommon for snakes to strangle someone to death.
"It's almost never,” said Brawn. “Never. I mean we've got wild reticulated pythons but it's illegal to own them and it's illegal to import and export them. So what's in the United States was bred here and domesticated."
Although she said reticulated pythons can grow up to 17 feet long and weigh up to 100Ibs plus. Taking care of them alone isn't ideal.
"Usually when you're dealing with larger snakes like that you want to have another person there helping you,” said Brawn. “You don't want to do it alone."
Snake handler Zachary Compton has handled snakes for 14 years. He said snakes carry their own personality.
"Read their behavior,” said Compton. “We've had plenty in here over six feet long and they wouldn't even think about biting a person. So it really just depends on the snakes."
Compton said if a reticulated python has an aggressive personality it can be dangerous.
"They are really really curious and ones that get as big as they do, if you're not prepared for it personally then you could have problems,” said Compton.
This website provides safety tips for those looking to handle any size snake or species.