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A pet Burmese python measuring more than eight feet long (2.4 metres) has broken out of its tank and strangled a two-year-old girl in the bedroom of her home in Florida.
A spokesperson for Sumter County Sheriff's Office, Bobby Caruthers, told reporters how the snake's owner, also the boyfriend of the child's mother, discovered the creature was missing and went to the girl's room.
There he reportedly found "the snake on the child" and bite marks on her head.
He apparently stabbed the reptile until he was able to prise the child away and raise the alarm.
The authorities removed the snake, which was still alive, from the home after obtaining a search warrant.