On Tuesday, the Anoka Police department Facebook page asked followers to briefly pause and answer a question: Is this your big snake?
Officers had been dispatched to a local apartment building at 3 a.m. that morning because a renter had stumbled upon the uninvited guessssst in the bedroom of their second-floor unit. This was not their snake. They did not know whose snake it was. They did not know of anyone in the building who owned a snake.
So officers wrangled the freeloading serpent into a pillowcase, tipped their hats, and took the slippery intruder into custody. They dropped it off at the pound and let the Minnesota Herpetological Society pick it up for safekeeping.
By the time news of the snake reached Anoka Police Captain Andy Youngquist, estimates of the serpent's size were about four or five feet long. Beth Girard, the adoption chair for the Herpetological Society, took out a ruler Wednesday morning and determined it was more like two and a half.
The snake is a ball python, she says. They’re a popular starter pet, and they don’t get much longer than four and a half feet. While the police department tried to find the owner, the snake was chilling at her place. It appeared to be well-cared for, and in good health.
“On occasion we will have a phone call about one that has been found,” she says. Usually a snake that turns up in someone’s house is seeking refuge -- not mounting an attack. It’s not that big a deal, she says. Ball pythons are constrictors, which means they’re not venomous, and their teeth are only about a third of an inch long.
“So if you compare that to a dog or a cat bite, it’s not that bad,” she says.
If you find one, she says, just throw a bath towel over it and plunk it into a plastic container. The Herpetological Society will take it from there.
That same Wednesday morning, there was an update from the police department’s Facebook page. The owner of the snake -- which the post referred to as “Cuddles” -- had been found.
The Herpetological Society got the call from Cuddles’ owner later that afternoon, and according to Girard, their long, wiggly son is going home.