Snake Swallows Shift Knob and Lives to Tell the Tale

Poor little snake thought the shift knob was a chicken egg.

byNico DeMattia|
Second Chance Wildlife Center
Second Chance Wildlife Center.
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An animal rehab facility in Maryland is currently nursing a rat snake back to life, after removing a shift knob from its belly. Somehow, the snake had been living with the knob in its gut for long enough to create a hole through its skin. I'm all for saving the manuals, but this little snake took it too far.

This sort of thing happens more often than you might think. Rat snakes love to eat chicken eggs, so when they see anything that's even remotely egg-shaped, they swallow it whole. Unfortunately, that also means they end up swelling things like golf balls and, apparently, shift knobs. However, since snakes can digest neither golf balls nor shift knobs, they get stuck inside the snake until they can be surgically removed, which is exactly what the Second Chance Wildlife Center, in Gaithersburg, Maryland did.

According to Second Chance, the shift knob had been stuck inside the snake for so long that a hole wore through its skin. I don't know much about snake physiology but it seems surprising that it survived. Second Chance removed the shift knob, stitched the snake back up, and is now nursing it back to health. The snake will stay with Second Chance through the winter and then will return to the wild in the spring.

It was no small shift knob, either. The cue ball-looking knob was almost two inches in diameter. It's unclear what sort of vehicle the knob came from but whatever it was only had four forward gears. Second Chance should put it on eBay because some snake-loving car enthusiast will want a shift knob that actually came from the belly of the beast.

I don't even like snakes but I still felt bad for it. Having a two-inch shift knob stuck in your belly can't feel good, especially after it wears a hole through your skin. Thankfully it's been saved but hopefully, the snake learned its lesson and will be a bit more cautious when eating eggs.

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