Lost ball python snake safely returned to Hillsborough owner

Lost ball python snake safely returned to Hillsborough owner
This is the five foot long ball python snake found outside on a sewer grate in Hillsborough on May 23.

Sometimes the unexpected does happen. Police in Hillsborough, New Jersey responded to a 911 call on May 23. A large snake was seen on a sewer grate at the corner of Williamsburg Drive and Wexford Place. Detective Hank Olszyk determined it was a non-venomous ball python, which is a common snake kept as a pet.

As reported by Patch.com, the five-foot snake was transported from the location to police headquarters in a paper bag. It was then picked up by local animal control, St. Hubert’s Giralda.

Upon follow-up with St. Hubert’s Giralda, it was reported that the owner did come forward and retrieve their pet.

Wondering how a pet snake can escape in the first place?

According to Melissa Kaplan, educator and animal welfare activist, most of the time the pet snake escapes because the enclosure is not designed for snakes or has been built with little regard for the tenacity and flexibility of a determined snake.

Boards and bricks are not a suitable enclosure cover, nor are makeshift latches made of metal or other material. Even the glass enclosures outfitted with a half-screen top with a hinged glass lid are not secure enough for small snakes. The latch is loose enough so that they can squeeze out the top, and baby snakes can exit through the gap on either side.

Wondering what to do if you ever accidentally lost your pet snake?

Here are some suggestions offered in Kaplan’s Finding Escaped Snakes in the House:

• Snakes, even diurnal ones, will generally move around at night. They also tend to move along walls and baseboards.

• Get a hand mirror and a powerful flashlight, and look under and behind everything. Check between all of the cushions, along the gap between the mattresses of the bed, and put your hands down between the sides and backs and bottoms of the upholstered furniture.

• Check inside of cabinets in the bath, kitchen and laundry areas. Get down on the floor and look up at the underneath of your cabinets, stove and dishwasher. Look for openings where the snake could enter.

• Lay some sound traps along the walls. Crumpled plastic bags from the grocery store work well and make noise if the snake travels over them.

• Before retiring for the evening, lay about an inch-wide strip of flour or cornstarch across the doorways. The next morning, if the snake moved through any of the doorways, you will see the trail for a short distance pointing in the direction they were headed.

Final word of advice from Kaplan about finding a lost pet:

The best way to lose an animal is to think like a human. The best way to find an animal is to think like that animal and to view the world from its point of view and perspective.

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