An Arizona woman came home to a slippery surprise when she found a huge black snake lounging around in her toilet.
The nightmarish encounter happened on July 15, when Michelle Lespron returned home to Tuscon, Arizona after a short trip.
“I had been gone for four days and was looking forward to using my own toilet in peace. I lifted the lid and he or she was curled up,” Lespron told The Associated Press. “Thank God the lid was closed.”
She called Phoenix-based pest control company Rattlesnake Solutions to come and remove the snake, and the employee tending to her home took a video of the snake.
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The viral 20-second clip shows the snake removed from the toilet bowl and handled by the employee. At one point, he appears to bite the employee’s hand and even hisses at the camera.
Lespron said she has received a flood of messages from family, friends and even people she went to high school with since Rattlesnake Solutions posted the video.
“Everyone has the same reaction: Oh my God, this is my worst nightmare,” she told The Associated Press.
Some people thought the video was a prank. “Even my legal partner was like ‘Ha ha. Nice gag,'” said Lespron, a personal injury attorney.
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Lespron says his father tried to fight the snake that same night, but he escaped. So she called Rattlesnake Solutions the next morning.
It took three tries for the trainer – whom Lespron calls “my hero” – to firmly grasp the black and pink snake. He was able to wrestle the snake with one hand while capturing it with the other on his cellphone.
The snake was measured between 3 feet and 4 feet long. The handler released him into a natural habitat away from home.
Bryan Hughes, the owner of Rattlesnake Solutions, said this isn’t the first time his staff have seen a coachwhip snake sneak into someone’s home. Still, he said it’s rare to find a reptile inside residences.
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Coachwhips are slender, smooth-scaled, fast-moving snakes that dwell in the deserts of the southwestern United States. They prefer to live in scrubland, mesquite dune habitats and grasslands, according to the Tuscon Herpetological Society.
The good news for Lespron was that the coachwhip wasn’t poisonous. Yet his unexpected and unwanted visitor left a lasting impact.
Lespron said she refused to use her main bathroom for three weeks before she felt comfortable enough to return. And now she won’t use the bathroom in the dark and will always check under the lid before sitting down.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.