10 Terrifying Snake Invasions
Imagine encountering a snake at home, in your workplace, or another familiar environment that you’ve always regarded as safe. Just such a situation has occurred repeatedly. Recent snake invasions have alarmed citizens and officials alike, led to lawsuits, and prompted eradication efforts by officials. These ten bizarre snake invasions happened to others, but they could just as easily happen to you as well.
10 Dream House Snake Invasions
Jeff and Jody Brooks thought they’d found their dream house when they moved into their new residence in Annapolis, Maryland, in December 2015. Instead, they’d occupied a house of horrors. A dozen black rat snakes had invaded their domicile. A pest control company’s recommendation? “Burn the house down and let it sit for 15 years.”
Months after the family moved into their new home, the couple’s four-year-old son encountered the first of the snakes. Since then, they have found many other snakes, nests, and snakeskins. The family deserted the house after they found the third reptile. The snakes range from 1.8 to 2.1 meters (6–7 ft) long.
The couple ended up spending $60,000 on pest control. Finally, they sued the previous homeowner, Joan Broseker, and her agent and daughter, Barbara Van Horn, who sold them the house, asking for $2 million, which includes the $410,000 they paid for the house and $1 million in punitive damages. The family would like to start over in a house that’s not infested with snakes.
9 Apartment Complex
Paul Roberston and his wife, Shawn Davis, sued the manager of Bradford Gwinnett, a Norcross, Georgia, apartment complex, where they and other residents live alongside venomous snakes. The manager, they said, has been negligent in controlling snakes that invaded the property sometime in 2013. They’ve encountered half a dozen of the reptiles, including a rat snake and a 1.8-meter-long (6 ft) copperhead.
Robertson and Davis fear for the safety of their four-month-old granddaughter, who often stays with them. Another resident’s six-year-old son was bitten by one of the snakes. The couple protested the snake invasions by withholding their rent, an action which led to their eviction. Journalists’ attempts to contact the manager were unsuccessful.
8 Seniors’ Complex
In 2009, residents of a Manitoba housing complex for seniors, located in Inwood, about 75 kilometers (47 mi) from Winnipeg, began seeing snakes in hallways, on a kitchen counter, in bed, inside a baseboard heater, and on an external wall. One resident, Jim Monkman, said he was exiting his apartment when a snake fell on his shoulder. The snakes live several kilometers away in dens in Narcisse, tenant Ann O’Malley said, but they have entered the Inwood apartments through pipes, doorways, air conditioners, and a crawl space.
Housing Minister Gord Mackintosh vowed to examine the situation immediately. Ralph Eichler, conservative member of the Legislative Assembly for Lakeside, said that Manitoba Housing has known about the problem for years but has taken no action. Meanwhile, tenants remain concerned about not only the snakes but also about diseases and the reptiles’ feces and stench.
Abuja University of Technology, Abaji, in the Banaskantha district of Gujarat, India, hadn’t even opened before snakes began to take over the campus, living in weeds growing in the area. As a result, the school had to postpone its planned September 2013 opening. Several stakeholders were concerned, given that a lot of money had been spent and 85 percent of the university’s facilities were in place, but no classes had been held.
In a similar incident, snake invasions have occurred at the South China Normal University and other institutions of higher education in Guangzhou. Animal control workers caught 40 of the reptiles, but others were spied in the area, including 60 that were found dead, having been run over by vehicles. A student posted a message about her sighting of a 50-centimeter (20 in) green snake she saw on her way to the school’s library. It was sunning itself on the road, she noted on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. Zhang Liang of the South China Institute of Endangered Animals said the snakes are a nonvenomous species. He said bite marks on the snakes’ bodies suggest they were held in captivity before being deliberately released.
In 2013, 15-centimeter (6 in) snakes invaded Wagener-Salley High School in Wagener, South Carolina. Although Facebook rumors claimed the snakes were timber rattlers, they were, in fact, harmless juvenile banded water snakes. Assistant Principal James Arnold said that ten or so of the snakes were found in buildings and on the school grounds. He believed they were frightened from their hiding places when students returned to school after the summer break.
Down the street from the school, another serpent, probably a black rat snake, caused panic at the Wagener Medical Center, and a grass snake was caught at nearby Aiken’s Silver Bluff High School.
Brown DeKay’s snakes, also known as earth snakes, invaded the Hinds County, Mississippi, circuit clerk’s basement office, taking up residence there for several months in the spring of 2013. According to Deputy Clerk Kelly Phillips, the largest of the nonvenomous snakes was the thickness of her finger and several inches long.
Former zookeeper Percy King identified the snakes. Their teeth were probably too soft, he said, to break a person’s skin. Although the snakes were harmless, they frightened Phillips and several of her colleagues.
4 Telecommunications Services Of Trinidad and Tobago
Employees of the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) in San Fernando were not happy about the snakes that invaded their workplace in July 2013. In fact, they shut the place down, refusing to work alongside the invaders. Communication Workers Union (CWU) representative Dylan Charles expressed workers’ concern about unsafe working conditions and said that the company had not adequately addressed the situation.
TSTT hired a pest control company to spray the compound, and some of the snakes were killed. Despite these eradication efforts, Charles said that employees were still finding snakes.
In September 2005, more than 200 snakes were removed from Dike Hospital near Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England. Most were in the hospital’s boiler room, perhaps attracted by the heat. Eric Pritchard, the forest ranger who removed the snakes, said that the boiler room represented a perfect place for a pregnant snake to lay her eggs.
In 2001, a nurse, opening a cupboard in the boiler room, found 143 newly hatched snakes. “They have had a long association with the hospital,” spokesman Anthony Dallimore acknowledged. Although the unexpected sight of the snakes shocked patients and staff, the snakes were harmless, he added. The captured snakes were removed.
2 Public Transportation Vehicles
In December 2012, an Egypt Air flight en route from Cairo to Kuwait made an emergency landing in Al Ghardaqa, Egypt, after one of the plane’s passengers was bitten in the hand by the deadly cobra he’d smuggled aboard. He’d been attempting to control the snake, which he’d hidden inside a carry-on bag. After the cobra bit him, it crawled under the plane’s seats. The man refused medical attention, stating that the bite was merely superficial. After local authorities confiscated the snake, the plane continued its flight. No other passengers or crew members were bitten.
Japan’s bullet trains nearly always arrive on time, and the one that made an emergency stop after a 30-centimeter (12 in) brown snake was seen slithering between passengers’ seats in September 2016 was no exception. The train was speeding between Tokyo and Hiroshima when it stopped to allow police to capture the snake. The stowaway appeared to be harmless, and no one aboard the train reported being injured. Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, reported the incident, speculating that the snake may have been an immature rat snake.
No one aboard the train admitted to having misplaced the snake, which is forbidden cargo. Besides human passengers, railroad personnel allow only fish and small birds aboard the trains, although in 2011, a nonvenomous, 1-meter (3.3 ft) Honduran milk snake made its way onto a bullet train near Kyoto, causing the train to make an unanticipated stop.
In 2014, as kindergartners frolicked on their playground, a deadly viper lurked nearby, undiscovered until 2:00 PM. The kindergarten, located in Bavli, a swank neighborhood in Tel Aviv, Israel, was spotted by a terrified teacher, who notified Ofir Cohen, a snake trapper with Eli Cohen Pesticides. He said the snake’s venom can sometimes kill adults but is much deadlier for children.
Cohen said that the Tel Aviv Municipality was negligent in telling the teacher to search for the snake herself. She did as she’d been instructed, and according to Cohen, she was lucky to have escaped being bitten. No additional snakes were found at the school.
Gary Pullman lives south of Area 51, which, according to his family and friends, explains “a lot.” His 2016 urban fantasy novel, A Whole World Full of Hurt, was published by The Wild Rose Press. An instructor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he writes several blogs, including Chillers and Thrillers: A Blog on the Theory and Practice of Writing Horror Fiction and Nightmare Novels and Other Tales of Terror.