Virginia Motorist Shocked By a Snake Slithering Out the Air Vent

What's worse than snakes on a plane? Snakes in your car.

MYERSVILLE, MD - MAY 26: A black rat snake makes his way out of
The Washington Post—The Washington Post/Getty Images

It's always a surprise to discover an uninvited guest from the animal kingdom hiding out in your car—it's happened to me, but my hitchhiker was a mouse on the outside of the car. A Virginia woman was understandably shocked when her stowaway revealed itself to be a snake when it slithered out the air vent of her Cadillac SRX while she was driving, reports the Washington Post.

Lora Goff handled the situation as calmly as she could. First, she pulled over, got out of the car, and called 911 for assistance. Then, because as the internet says, "pics or it didn't happen," she snapped a few photos of the 2½-foot long snake crawling around the inside of her Cadillac so people would actually believe her when she told the story.

Soon an animal control officer arrived, but unfortunately for Goff, the officer confessed that he was scared of snakes. Yet despite his ophidiophobia, the officer made a valiant effort to capture the snake using an animal control pole, which is designed to snare critters from a safe distance. Unfortunately, this didn't work. The snake fell out of the vent, then disappeared under the front seats.

By now Goff was late returning from her lunch break, so she bravely got in her car and drove back to work—with the snake still somewhere inside. Her co-workers gave her a wide variety of suggestions, and she ended up borrowing a friend's car to go to the hardware store to get some sticky glue traps intended for rodents, set them up around her Cadillac, then returned to work.

At the end of the day, there was still no sign of the snake and the traps were empty. With trepidation, Goff drove home, making noise and moving her feet around to try and rouse the snake from its hiding place on the way. It didn't work.

The next morning, Goff and her husband checked the traps again. This time they found the snake stuck to one of them, still alive. Her husband threw it in the back of his truck. Goff didn't want to know what he did with the snake after that.

Fear of snakes is more common than you might think. Nearly a third of all adults are afraid of snakes, according to some reports, so it's nothing to be ashamed of. That said, Goff seemed to handle the situation well with caution, of course, but not an irrational fear. That's more than can be said for the animal control officer.

While some snakes can be deadly, three experts at the Washington Post concluded that the snake in Goff's Cadillac was not. They identified it as a juvenile black rat snake, a nonvenomous and harmless breed. In fact, black rat snakes can be helpful to have around your garden, since they eat insects and small rodents that would otherwise damage your crops. Of course, Goff had no clue of this at the time.