A QUIET neighbourhood in Mountrath was somewhat rattled last week, when a woman discovered a three and a half foot snake under her bed.
Margaret O’Brien, of Fr O’Connor Crescent, bent down to pick up what she thought was a children’s toy sticking out from under the bed last Monday, but she got the fright of her life when the orange and brown striped tail suddenly moved. Her son, Michael explained to the Leinster Express that Margaret had just had family members staying with her for a couple of days and she entered the spare room at the front of the house.
“She thought it was a kid’s toy, like the tail of a Tigger teddy bear, but when she bent down to pick it up it disappeared under the bed. It was a big fright,” said Michael.
Understandably shaken, Margaret rang both Michael and her daughter’s boyfriend. The lads managed to bag the snake with the use of a long poker and they called the gardaí, although the guards admitted they weren’t sure what to do with the reptile and they suggested waiting until morning before bringing it to a pet shop.
“Someone said there was a vacant house nearby where there were pet snakes, so the letting agent came down and went in,” Michael continued. “The fellow who lived there had left and there were three or four snakes in the house and some terrapins. The house wasn’t in great condition,” he added.
The snakes were being kept in a glass box but a door had been left open and the slithery escapee managed to make its way up to the O’Brien household. Having bagged the snake, the men returned it to the glass box and waited for the gardaí and the LSPCA to arrive. Eventually the man renting the house returned and collected the animals. It is understood he was in the process of moving house and had been absent from the premises for a couple of weeks. While there was obvious concern among local residents, Conor Dowling, chief inspector with the ISPCA, said the snake was not dangerous and there were no animal welfare issues with the property.
“It was a Corn Snake. It could give you a bite but there would be no real damage,” Mr Dowling said, adding that other breeds present in the house were a California King Snake and a Ball Python. He explained that the terrapins were removed from the property and brought somewhere more suitable, but the snakes remain with their owner.