A homeowner in Alabama suddenly had an unexpected guest upon finding a large gray rat snake (Pantherophis spiloides) hiding in the toilet. The homeowner immediately alerted the Eufaula Alabama Police Department, who rescued the snake and shared some photos of it on their official Facebook page.
Gray rat snakes are considered harmless and non-venomous. They live in various environments, such as in forested areas, agricultural fields, suburban neighborhoods, and structures nearby houses where people live. According to Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF), gray rat snakes measure about 3 to 5 feet on average and can grow up to 7 feet.
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Will Brown)
Gray Ratsnake (Pantherophis spiloides)
According to Newsweek, the incident happened on Friday, September 16, 2022, in the city of Eufaula, located in southeast Alabama near Georgia. These non-venomous snakes are native to North America, particularly in the eastern and central US and some parts of Canada.
The homeowner was surprised by their unexpected visitor and called the local police department. Police officers were immediately dispatched to the area to solve the matter.
They also wrote on Facebook that they did not expect to receive a call about a snake hiding in the toilet. Luckily, it was a harmless gray rat snake, which is relatively common in the state. The unexpected visitor was then released to a more suitable habitat after being rescued.
Nicole Angeli, a researcher at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, explained that finding snakes slithering and hiding in the toilet is not an uncommon occurrence, and there are several possible explanations as to why snakes end up in such places.
She said that these snakes might be looking for water, or they could also be tracking their prey that entered some leaky pipes. Also, snakes could simply be looking for someplace cool to hide.
More About Gray Rat Snake
Per Florida Museum, adult and juvenile gray rat snakes have darker gray botches on their back and a sandy-gray belly with dark square blotches. They are not dangerous to people or pets and only attack when intentionally provoked.
Their usual diet consists of lizards, frogs, rodents, birds, and their eggs. Like most snakes, they use their body to constrict their prey and swallow them alive.
These snakes usually flee for shelter or remain motionless when being approached to avoid being detected. But on occasions when it is cornered, juvenile and adult gray rat snakes will take an S-shaped posture and attack their attacker while rapidly vibrating their tongue. They usually bite their attacker but may also calm down if held properly.
Although these snakes might be harmless, Florida Museum also reminds us that when finding a snake at home, the safest thing to do is to leave it alone and immediately report it to nearby authorities regardless of whether they are non-venomous or venomous. But if bitten by a snake, remember to stay calm and go to the hospital as soon as possible.
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