Image: Veterinarian Karsten Fostvedt
Willy Cook  /  Idaho Mountain Express
Veterinarian Karsten Fostvedt looks at X-rays Tuesday of Houdini, a 12-foot Burmese python that swallowed an entire electric blanket.
updated 7/21/2006 3:35:50 PM ET 2006-07-21T19:35:50

It took surgery to save a 12-foot Burmese python after it swallowed an entire queen-size electric blanket — with the electrical cord and control box.

The blanket must have gotten tangled up in the snake's rabbit dinner, owner Karl Beznoska said. He said he kept the blanket in the 60-pound reptile's cage for warmth.

"The prognosis is great," veterinarian Karsten Fostvedt at St. Francis Pet Clinic in Ketchum said after Tuesday's two-hour operation on the python, named Houdini.

Fostvedt said specialists at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine told him it probably would have taken Houdini six hours to swallow the blanket and the snake probably would have died without the operation.

X-rays showed the tangle of the blanket's wiring extending through about 8 feet of the python's digestive tract. The surgery to remove it took an 18-inch incision.

Karl Beznoska and Houdini
Willy Cook  /  Idaho Mountain Express
Karl Beznoska brings an uncomfortably bulging Houdini to the St. Francis Pet Clinic on Monday.
Neither Fostvedt nor fellow veterinarian Barry Rathfon had operated on a snake before. "We just basically called a couple of specialists and they told us where to go in," Fostvedt said.

He said it would take several days for Houdini's anesthesia to wear off because snakes have such slow metabolism.

Houdini has been with Beznoska for 16 years, and is a popular show-and-tell guest in local schools.

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Video: Snake eats electric blanket

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