A snake that had been missing since October emerged from hiding last week — to the delight of her owner and the shock of his downstairs neighbour.
“Our officers received a call in the evening that a lady had found a snake in her medicine cabinet,” said Karen Melnyk, a registered veterinary technologist at the Animal Control & Care Center (ACC) in Edmonton.
It is unknown how the four-foot-long California kingsnake, known as Scarlet, made her way into the neighbour’s bathroom.
“I couldn’t even begin to tell you how the snake got in there,” said Melnyk.
“Snakes can get themselves into some pretty tiny spaces and if their head can fit through… they’ll go.”
Scarlet had been missing for four months after escaping from her enclosure in another apartment suite.
Melnyk said the snake was in good health upon his initial examination.
“She didn’t look like any other snake that had been, what we found out later, to be four months,” said Melnyk.
“She must’ve found some mice in the building to keep her body condition well.”
An after-hours officer for the Animal Care & Control Centre picked Scarlet up during the early hours of Tuesday morning and ensured that “she was safely tucked into bed at ACC for the night.”
Melnyk said ACC gets a couple dozen calls a year about snakes and sees more than 7,000 animals a year.
And after four months apart, it took the owner only an hour to claim her.
In a Facebook post by ACC, the group reminds the public that not all snakes in its care are dumped or unloved and, in fact, that many have loving owners who are waiting — and hoping — for a sweet reunion.
“Sadly, I was not up front when they came to pick up the snake… but from what I hear, he was pretty happy to have her back,” Melnyk said.
California kingsnakes are nonvenomous and are one of the most commonly kept pet snakes. In the wild, they’ll eat any animal or bird small enough to be overpowered and swallowed whole. In captivity, they usually eat live reptile food or well-thawed rodents.
Global News contacted the woman who found the snake in her bathroom but she declined comment.
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