Amanda Ruth Black's husband found her body last week in their Virginia Beach home. She was in front of the python's open container, and the snake was loose in the room.
A medical examiner determined that Black had died from asphyxiation, probably from the python, a constrictor, wrapping itself around her neck. Investigators said that Black, who worked in a pet shop and was experienced at handling snakes, was apparently giving the 13-foot python medicine.
Reticulated pythons are native of Southeast Asia and can grow to be more than 30 feet long, about the same length as the heavier-bodied South American anaconda. The pythons are popular pets, although experts warn that they can be dangerous if they are provoked or frightened or if they mistake a human hand for food.
Margie Long, a spokesman for Virginia Beach police, said that Black's husband signed over the snake and it was euthanized.