If you have a snake phobia, you're probably not going to read this story anyway. But just so you know, there is a snake involved and it hits uncomfortably close to home.
An HVAC technician got a big surprise when he opened a customer's AC unit and found a ball python inside. It happened in Gulfport, shortly after repairman Connor Smith arrived at the home of Steve Ramos. For those unfamiliar, a ball python is non-poisonous and actually somewhat popular as a pet -- at least as far as snakes go. So while it was a bit startling, the repairman didn't seem too freaked out. Smith simply went into the house and told the homeowner that he'd found his pet snake.
The only problem? Ramos doesn't own a pet snake. On the other hand, according to WLOX-TV, that explained some other strange happenings at the Ramos home. He'd been having trouble with rats on the roof, and during the night, he'd hear this big thud. Ramos now thinks "it may have been that python dropping out of the tree and gorging himself on the rats." (Side note: is it easy to tell if it's a boy python or a girl python?)
I know a few people with snake phobias, and I've never known someone with this issue to even look at a picture of a snake for more than a few seconds -- much less be willing to share space with one. It doesn't matter if the snake is poisonous or not, whether it's big or small, or even behind glass like Fluffy at the Columbus Zoo (RIP). I've asked snake-phobic people how they can even live in the South. Not only do we have snakes, we have poisonous snakes. The answer is usually to pretend they aren't anywhere nearby. But the repairman in this story says it's not at all uncommon to find snakes when he's working on AC units. They are in our backyards. Yikes!
In Seattle, where I grew up, the snakes are tiny and nonvenomous. Well, except for that one Western Rattlesnake they found and took back home to Eastern Washington. I'd probably be a lot more worried about snakes had I grown up around potentially dangerous snakes. But I have a healthy respect for them, and so does homeowner Steve Ramos back in Gulfport. As he jokingly explained to WLOX: "If they hadn’t found it, I wonder how long that thing would have lived around here until my dog went missing... or I went missing."
For what it's worth, the ball python is fine. He has been taken to an animal rescue group and will likely find a nice home.