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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow SNAKE FINDS WORLD A BIT DAUNTING



FAR FROM HOME: Vicky Williams of the animal shelter helped make this female albino corn snake a temporary home at the animal shelter Tuesday. A snake was found on Spring Avenue Monday night. (The Observer/T.L. PETERSEN).
FAR FROM HOME: Vicky Williams of the animal shelter helped make this female albino corn snake a temporary home at the animal shelter Tuesday. A snake was found on Spring Avenue Monday night. (The Observer/T.L. PETERSEN).

By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

It wasnt, perhaps, what the snake was expecting when it left home.

A female albino corn snake naturally at home in the America southeast, not the Northwest found itself out on the street on Spring Avenue Monday night, confronting two ready-to-pounce cats.

I was going out to leave and the cats were kind of just hunched there, says Gailen Jones.

She went to the front of her parked truck to see why her cats were staring intently at the street and saw a snake like none shed ever seen.

It was about 2 to 2 feet long, about as thick as a womans thumb, and a pale cream color with pale orange markings on it.

Fearing it might be poisonous and thinking the cats might have attacked it, Jones convinced her boyfriend to use a stick to get the snake into a box. Then she called the police.

I didnt know what to do with it, she said.

She thought about keeping it, but not knowing what it was, knowing it was already after 10 p.m., and being sure she didnt want it to escape in her house, she decided the police were her best option.

Jones said she thought it was probably someones escaped pet, but thinking about it escaping once, I didnt want it to escape again and end up in my bed.

Still, it was an exciting evening for Jones. While it was late to be dealing with a snake, it wasnt too late to call her out-of-town mother to relate the story.

I was excited about it, she said.

Police took the snake, treating it cautiously, and kept it at the police station until Tuesday morning, when Eastern Oregon University professor Laura Mahrt, a reptile specialist, identified the snake as an albino corn snake.

You can tell its somebodys pet, Mahrt said. First, because it is only found naturally in the eastern United States. And secondly, because the snake is quite calm about being handled.

Mahrt said the snake is mature but could get a little bigger. It is a hunter of small mammals, such as mice and nestling birds, but doesnt require frequent feeding. Corn snakes, she said, are very good tree climbers.

As pet snakes, they are pretty laid back, Mahrt said. Even in the wild, they arent very aggressive and certainly not poisonous. Mahrt remembers capturing wild corn snakes as a child and has bred them during her studies.

Since the snake found is an albino, Mahrt is sure someone bought it at a pet store.

The snake is being kept at the Louise McNeely Memorial Animal Shelter. If its owner doesnt claim it, it will be adopted. Theres already a list of people interested, including both Jones and Mahrt.


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