The Snake Charmer: St. George and the Dragon
"The flapper must be stuck", she thought and proceeded to remove the toilet tank lid reaching in to unstick the flapper. She had her hand half way in the tank when she saw this dark substance around the flapper hole and as soon as she thought "what is this?" she saw a head to her left.
"OHMYGOD-OHMYGOD-OHMYGOD!", I heard. I began running in her direction thinking she had hurt herself. I met her half way to the bathroom when she informed me "There's a snake in the toilet!".
"What? Oh no!", I exclaimed, among other things not repeatable. I made my way into the bathroom and slowly lifted the lid to get a peek at the creature. Sure enough there was a snake. It didn't look too big but it was bunched up in one corner, near the workings of the tank, and I could not get a good look to see if the snake was poisonous or not.
So, we stood there trying to figure out what to do. As it was 12:30 AM there was hardly anyone to call for help. We decided to try calling an animal removal service but there was no answer, even though the telephone book ad said "24 hour service". My wife remembered her sister had a grabber tool excellent for helping one with back trouble to pick items up off the ground without bending or squatting but not for grabbing snakes as we discovered later. On her way to get it she also called the local police to see if they knew of someone that could help with removal of the snake. The kind police officer offered his services and if he couldn't help, he would try animal control.
It felt like an hour had gone by, really probably only 10-15 minutes, when my wife and the police officer showed up simultaneously. She came down with the grabber tool and he pulled a paper bag out of the trunk of the police car, yes a paper bag. They came in, we asked him to excuse our mess (renovating and repairing) and he and I stepped into the bathroom.
The bag was set onto the closed toilet seat and I removed the lid. Yep, the snake was still in there. I took the grabber tool and proceeded to try and grab the snake. If you didn't know, snakes seem quite slippery when wet. I could not get a hold of it! Suddenly, the snake grew tired of me trying to grab it in the tank (with the tool of course) and suddenly began coming out of the tank!
"What do I do now?!", I thought to myself. I was stuck. Would it turn around and bite me? Would it slip from my grasp? I got my wits about me and slowly started moving my hand and the snake towards the paper bag, which was standing up and open waiting to help out. Amazingly the snake, still extended from my hand, went along with my motion and went into the bag. Once I put the rest of the snake in the bag, I quickly rolled the top down securing the snake inside. Whew! The police officer told us if we duct taped the bag, he would take it and release it down at the local river.
Many questions come up about this incident. How did the snake get into the toilet tank? What kind of snake was it? Why did the police officer have a paper bag in the trunk of his car?
Well, we did some research and discovered snakes, among other critters, can come up through the plumbing. Not the supply line but the other, "exit only", line. Alarming, yes. What still baffles us is how it got into the tank of the toilet, the tank not the bowl. We speculate it could of squeezed through an opening from the bowl to the tank. Snakes do not need much of an opening to get into a place they want. We also learned this was a type of Rat Snake, this one being a juvenile. I think I would have moved out that night if it was a full grown rat snake. The adults can reach lengths of 8 feet! As for the paper bag, it remains a mystery to me and my wife. I am just glad I had the bag and the help that came along with it.