Wandering into her bathroom in the middle of the night, a Louisiana resident was suddenly shocked awake when she noticed something moving in her toilet. Peeking out of the shallow water was a ball python, its slender body tucked out of sight down the drain.
The unusual incident occurred around 1:30 am on Wednesday (July 26). Understandably startled by the scaly intruder, the resident contacted Steven Kennedy, owner of Steve’s Snaketuary, a reptile rescue in Shreveport. And despite the late hour, Kennedy immediately came to the aid of the homeowner (and the snake).
As a reptile wrangler with decades of experience under his belt, Kennedy has seen his fair share of snakes in odd situations. Every year, the dedicated rescuer receives some 900 calls to remove a snake from a business or home. In those thousands upon thousands of calls, however, a ball python in a toilet was a first.
“It’s actually something you really just see in the movies,” Kennedy told The Shreveport-Bossier City Advocate. “I’ve been dealing with snakes over 30 years and I’ve never seen a snake in a toilet.”
Ball pythons are native to Western and Central Africa – many, many miles from Louisiana. They are, however, extremely popular among exotic pet owners here in The States. So this one likely escaped its home somewhere nearby before making its way into this homeowner’s bathroom.
But how did the snake find its way into the toilet? Even Kennedy isn’t sure. “If a house is on piers and beams, it can get down into pipes that way,” he said. “They can come up through the bottom.”
The problem is that the house is on a slab foundation, not beams, leaving the snake catcher scratching his head. “I have no idea how it got into the pipes,” Kennedy said.
It’s possible that the snake came in through an open door while the resident wasn’t looking, slithered to the bathroom, and into the toilet.
The ball python was likely looking for shade when it slithered into the toilet
Ball pythons are terrestrial snakes, meaning they spend their entire lives on land. That said, they can swim just fine if necessary and are capable of holding their breath for up to 20 minutes.
So while a toilet is far from an ideal hiding place for a snake and will eventually become life-threatening due to the lack of heat, the snake wasn’t in immediate danger. In fact, the sweltering Louisiana heat is likely the reason it wound up in the toilet in the first place.
Like other reptiles, ball pythons are cold-blooded, meaning they cannot generate their own body heat. Instead, they use the sun (or heat lamps in their enclosures) to warm themselves. But that doesn’t mean they can sunbathe indefinitely.
Eventually, a reptile will overheat, leading them to seek shade, crawl into a burrow, or find a body of water (or toilet) for a quick dip.
“If it gets too hot, like you know, this summer we’ve had temperatures over 100 degrees, it actually gets too hot for them,” Kennedy explained. “And so they’re going to look for a cooler spot to get and then if it gets too cold they’re gonna look for a warmer spot.”
“So that’s why people find them in their homes. Because they’re trying to regulate their own body temperature.”
The fate of this ball python remains unclear. Sadly, it’s not unusual for the Snaketuary to receive calls from pet owners looking to surrender their reptiles.
Surrendering an unwanted pet is always a better option than abandonment, though, which is not only cruel but can have serious ramifications. The Burmese pythons currently destroying the Florida Everglades, after all, were once exotic pets.