By Marvin Scott, WPIX, Reporting, Courtesy CNN
Snake in the toilet was not a movie sequel but reality on Staten Island. A four-foot-long California Kingsnake slithered into the commode at Allen Shepard’s apartment and scared him half to death. “I turned the light on at 6:30 a.m. and went to open the vanity when I thought I saw something move in the toilet,” he recalled.
He couldn’t believe his eyes as he slammed the door shut and ran for a broom. “The snake was getting on the top of the rim, ready to strike.” Shepard grabbed a broom.
The hissing reptile struck the handle and wouldn’t let go. Shepard hoped to knock out the slimy creature with a Clorox spray. No luck. He reached out for reinforcements, first calling the super at the Bridgeview apartment complex who, in turn, summoned plumber Kenneth Rosenthal. The only snake he was familiar with is the tool he uses to unclog a toilet.
“When they said it was a snake, there was no way I was going to put my hand in there,” he told PIX 11 News. The sight of the unsightly creature conjured up thoughts of the horror movie, “Snakes on a Plane.” But Rosenthal declared, “Forget about snakes on a plane. You gotta worry about snakes in your home.”
With bravado, the intrepid plumber prepared to do battle, face to fang. At first he thought the snake was no challenge because he only saw 12 inches of it protruding from the inner bowl. “All I saw was the tail of the snake, then I kept pulling out more and more and more and before I knew it, I had four feet of snake,” he related with his hands gesturing wildly. He went on, “So I was wrestling with this thing to get him out in one piece and finally I hooked him. I got him and threw him into a thermos and that was the end of him.” The bathroom battle lasted some 30 minutes. The snake, a non-poisonous variety, was taken off to a sanctuary in Manhattan.
So how did this reptile end up in the toilet? The best guess is that it was a pet of one of the tenants of the apartment complex. It escaped and somehow slithered into the complex plumbing system.
Plumber Rosenthal told us the whole experience taught him an important lesson, “If I go to the bathroom now, I’m looking in there and I’m flushing twice.” And it might be a good idea to keep the lights on as well, particularly if you are among the millions of Ophiophobiacs like me who are petrified of snakes.