For most people, walking into a room in your home and encountering a 10- to 15-foot snake sounds like a nightmare.

But what was once a horrible fear recently became a reality for College Station resident Veronica Rodriguez when she went to flip the light on in her bathroom and discovered an African python crawling into her bathtub.

"It was a huge scare," said Rodriguez, who was still visibly shaken from the incident on Monday, eight days after the snake sighting.

It's most likely that the python made entry into Rodriguez's home through the back door, but when exactly the creature slithered in is an uncomfortable unknown for the 50-year-old single mother of a high school senior.

About 6 p.m. and while her daughter was at work, she decided to give the three household guinea pigs a bath.

After bathing each one, she would take it outside to let it run in a penned area while she cleaned its cage and would leave her back door open each time.

She estimated her door was left open about two to three minutes each time she would come out to her fenced yard with a new guinea pig and cage.

Before it was dark out, she and her daughter's pets were back inside the home, and at about 9 p.m. she got a call from her mother.

"I was on the phone with my mom and I kept hearing noises in the back," she said.

Thinking initially it was the guinea pigs, she said she went to check her daughter's room but found nothing.

A few minutes later, she heard more noises and got up to peek into her bedroom. Again, nothing, Rodriguez said.

The third time she heard noises that sounded like someone was knocking things over. She went to check the only room she hadn't: her bathroom.

"As soon as I turned on the light, that's when I saw it," she said. "It was crawling into my tub."

Immediately, she slammed the door and ran outside. While her mother called Rodriguez's brother to see if he could go help, Rodriguez said she called 911 and soon College Station officer Tony Gonzales arrived.

"When the officer showed up, he came with a brown paper sack," she recalled. "I told him, 'you're going to need a bigger sack than that.'"

Gonzales, who's been with the police department about five years, said he'd previously responded to three snake calls, but nothing like that.

"When I opened her bathroom door, there was a 12-foot python," Gonzales recalled. "I didn't know what I was going to do with a snake that large."

He asked dispatchers to send animal control officers. Shortly afterward, another College Station officer arrived, also armed with a paper bag, and soon the animal control officer showed up with a 10-gallon bucket.

"No one believed me that the snake was that big," Gonzales said.

The three officers settled on a city trash can as a temporary shelter for the creature, but getting it into the container was a struggle.

"It was pretty aggressive," Gonzales said. "It definitely didn't want to go into the trash can."

Once inside the container, the snake was properly secured and left on the side of the home until animal control picked it up in the morning.

Gonzales said the snake was initially transported to a reptile rescue facility, but had since been claimed and returned to its owner.

Toby Hibbitts, a curator of amphibians and reptiles for the Texas A&M Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collections in College Station, said snakes on the loose are typically looking for a place where they can maintain a favorable body temperature and access food without much effort.

While he's never heard of a python making way into someone's home in the area, he said it didn't necessarily surprise him since many people keep their homes at comfortable temperatures.

Judging from a photo of the snake, Hibbitts estimated it was about 4 to 5 years old assuming it had been fed properly. He added that it appeared healthy.

Hibbitts said he didn't think the snake posed much of a danger to adults, but may have put small children at risk had they been in the home.

Rodriguez was thankful the creature didn't harm her daughter's pets, but said the experience didn't leave her unscathed.

As someone who was "already afraid of everything," she's had trouble sleeping and has been especially jumpy, she said.

Her daughter, Kelsie Fowler, thought her mom was exaggerating about the size of the snake until shown a picture of it by The Eagle on Monday.

"I thought she was being over-dramatic, I thought it was just a grass snake or something," she said. "I'd probably pass out on the floor if I saw that."

Not surprisingly, Rodriguez said she's been overly cautious about making sure doors are closed since last week. "It really spooked me so bad," she said.

Hibbitts said anyone thinking about becoming a python owner needs to make sure they are well-prepared before taking the step.

"You have to know what the animal needs and you have to know how to handle it," he said. "It's a large animal that needs a fair amount of food and can be hard to handle by yourself. It takes a special pet keeper to hang on to them."

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(39) comments

agnerd

Pythons are usually not very agressive towards people. Wonder if this guy was hungry.

yeahsoimelaine

yeah, i agree. I had a python myself, and he was very docile and relaxed. especially bigger pythons like this, who are owned by someone. surely that python is used to human interaction, especially if it was taken care of for several years. my guess is that the python smelled the guinea pigs and was hungry. that's enough to upset any animal. Also, african pythons are found to be the most docile out of all the breeds of python there are. another explanation for the python's aggressiveness is because it's not in a familiar surrounding, and odds are, it wasn't warm enough for him.

prairiegirl

I would have caught it and had it turned into a nice pair of boots!

mwboyd

uhhh, what could possibly go wrong with this scenario?

"the snake was properly secured and left on the side of the home until animal control picked it up in the morning".

BryanTX

My guess is a graduating aggie decided they no longer had a need for a snake they'd kept the last several years, so they let it loose. But who knows?

lawman6

no - the article said the snack was claimed and returned to its owner.

Broken Heart

Everyone knows that pythons are drawn to those shag toilet seat covers. [wink]

AH9

Does anyone know where this was in College Station???

thisguy

I am not buying this story. I think this is some kind of attention stunt. A snake that big does not end up in someones bathroom just like that. Either the owner knows more or this was a joke that ended with the person calling the police before the others got there to tell her about it. This is way to bizarre of a story.

hellokelssea

that's pretty rude for assuming such a outlandish theory. sure, over the years people have done stupid and idiotic things to gain attention, but i would think twice before commenting such an ignorant quote when 3 small animals lives were in danger. yes, the story is real and no, we loath snakes.

thisguy

Everyone is entitled their own opinion and this is why I love America. If it is true what you say I hope your friend avoids this situation by closing doors next time. Its not just snakes going through open door these days. We have had bigger dangers than snakes lately in the Brazos Valley.

Orange County California

ThisGuy, please spare us your conspiracy theories.

thisguy

I have no time for California folks. Good day![beam]

lawman6

can we get a quote from the owner it was returned too.

KASH

it probably smelled the guinea pigs & thought "lunch"

margomouse

A quote from the owner would be good. Also a description of the fines. Not like a golden retriever running the streets. Hope they laid the smack down. I'm guessing in TX its getting pretty warm now, thinking the snake wanted to escape the heat. The tub would feel nice and cool if its body temp was too warm.

Pythonkeeper

Definitely not like a golden retriever running on the streets- that is, as dogs are capable of more bodily harm and worse aggression issues.

That's right, a python can't do this: http://www.theeagle.com/news/local/woman-gets-slithery-surprise-when-she-finds-a--foot/article_5616c20a-4efd-53bf-b78e-87c88473ad8e.html

The snake had escaped due to an accident while moving. Due to the lack of any damage, and because the owner owned the proper permits required, there was no reason for him to be fined and the animal was returned to him.

AlissaNicole76

Preach.

My Observation

Their not capable of the ecosystem damage that these snakes are causing in the everglades you over the top exotic animal owner. You're the reason we have a problem in Florida now because of your selfish hobby.

yeahsoimelaine

if anything the python was trying to get warmer, because snakes are cold blooded...? even in a controlled temperature, a snake still needs a heat lamp over it's tank to make the temperature and humidity appropriate for proper shedding and eating habits. Usually, that's why snakes don't mind being held by humans, because they get warmth from us. that's also why snakes like to crawl up into your clothing, because they need to be warm. I'd rather find a snake in my bathroom than some random dog that can maul my face off...

Les Legato

"...snakes on the loose are typically looking for a place where they can maintain a favorable body temperature and access food without much effort…"

Sound like that bum occupying our White House.

master of disaster

Brilliant bit of political commentary, Slick. You're ready for Fox and Friends.

Orange County California

If I were one of the cops. not only would I have not brought anything to carry the snake out, I would have shot it dead. The owner should be prosecuted and jailed for subjecting his neighbors to a dangerous animal. Owning a python should be a felony punishable by an automatic prison sentence.

TheVoiceOfReason

I guess we should all be thankful you were not one of the cops.

AlissaNicole76

I have a feeling you don't know much about non-venomous snakes because that was an ignorant comment.

marklange

Why was the owner allowed to get his/her snake back. If you can not keep an animal like this snake, that can be very harmful to children, then it should not be returned to you. I don't care if it was well fed, it obviously was not cared for properly and someone could have been seriously hurt.

TheVoiceOfReason

It got loose. Things happen.

AlissaNicole76

A loose dog or cat gets returned to the owner - both can be dangerous. The snake did not attack and is non-venomous. There's no reason he/she shouldn't be returned to the owner and a warning issued like every other pet picked up by AC (if we were ACTUALLY to enforce pet laws, which they don't unless they "feel like it"). The owner likely had to pay a fee to get the snake back like other dogs and cats picked up. Whatever happened, the owner will most likely be much more cautious. Wish I could say the same about the idiots who let their dogs run loose around their homes that are next to high traffic roads.

Katina Cooper

The only reason the cops didn't shoot the snake is because they couldn't put a throw-down gun on the snake and then say they feared for their lives. They thought that they could get away with it until they saw the snake and saw that the snake didn't have any hands.

Newbets

I would just like to say that this lady has a very clean bathroom. I don't think I'd like to have my bathroom go viral. [crying]

Everyone's worst nightmare is to discover a snake like that! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeK

the real slim shady

Enough with the stupid snake. Maybe grab something relevant off the AP, Eagle.

The Invisible One

The first thing a person needs to know in dealing with a non-venomous snake like that is they are like any other domesticated animal. They can and will respond to the scent of fear. Although i have never been a snake owner, i have had friends who were. their pets were just like any other, they had personalities and loved attention. I have held a ball python that was 12 1/2 feet long, or should i say she held me? She wrapped around me loosely and rubbed her face against my cheek. was the most amazing animal adventure i've ever had to this day!!

momofsix

I must admit that I did find some of these comments quite humorous, but personally, I would have been on the first plane out of Texas and back to Delaware where I live now. I did live in Texas and was stark terrified of snakes. I was telling my good friend how much I was afraid of snakes when we were walking in the woods. He said "I guess if Satan had been a bunny rabbit people would be afraid of them/"
It is not the Satan analogy I was scared by a huge black snake when I was four years old. I cannot even deal with huge worms..
[wink]

thisguy

Can the eagle get this off the top news? I am tired of seeing this story and looking at a snake every time I see the news on here. There is other news bigger than this.

GMC

Amen!

The Eagle has landed


“Mabel, what are your screaming about! Yesterday it was a mouse!
You said: ‘You’ve got to get rid of that thing! I can’t put on makeup with a mouse in the bathroom!’
Wellll. . . I took care of it, just like you asked. Women. . . doesn’t matter what you do, it’s never enough.
And what's for dinner??”

GMC

I am sick of seeing the picture of that [censored] snake on the home page.
It's been over four months and it's still there.

prairiegirl

Why didn't she just get a hoe and kill it in the tub? Simple.

spyder sansleg

Because not everyone is a bloodthirsty killer like you with no regard for anyone's life but their own?

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