Belfast Telegraph

Five-foot-long snake bursts through ceiling and lands on Dublin homeowner

By Meadhbh McGrath

Legend has it that St Patrick banished all the snakes from Ireland, but he seems to have missed one – as an unsuspecting homeowner found out when a 5ft reptile burst through his ceiling and landed on top of him.

Last Friday, just a day after the national holiday, the man was standing on a ladder and doing some renovation work at his home in Glasnevin, Co Dublin, when he was caught by surprise by the errant snake.

“He was in quite a panic because he was trying to get the snake,” Gillian Bird from the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) told

“I asked him to see if he could get a box over the snake. He said he had a box over the snake, and he was sitting on it, and could we please come as quickly as possible!”

When the DSPCA arrived, they found the nearly five-foot-long rat snake, a non-venomous species usually found in cornfields in America.

The homeowner noted that his previous tenant had had a snake, but had left the house some time ago without telling him that the pet had escaped.

“Snakes are great escape artists. If you leave the tank open even the tiniest bit they can get out, and some snakes can be quite forceful, so if you don’t have a very secure tank or if the lid is a little bit loose, they can actually force their way out quite well,” said Ms Bird.

She continued: “They like to go and find warm, dark places, like the attic space, bathrooms or hot presses.”

The rescued snake, nicknamed ‘Paddy’ , is now in the care of the DSPCA.

“It’s very thin, so it’s obviously been loose for a while. It’s doing good now, but it’s a slow process. It’s going to take a little bit of recovery, so we have it in a tank on a heat mat. Because they’re cold-blooded, they need some warmth to move.

“Then we have to slowly stimulate its appetite again to get it eating, but you can’t feed them too much at this stage, because their stomachs would be very shrivelled up.”

Ms Bird explained that they don’t yet know the sex of the snake, because their reproductive organs are concealed internally.

While a stray snake falling from a hole in the ceiling may sound like a nightmare to most of us, Ms Bird said they have received a number of similar calls over the years: “It’s not uncommon, we do get a few calls like this every year.”

For now, the DSPCA are hoping the owner will come forward, but if they do not, they will be looking to re-home the rescued snake.

“It can be difficult with any pet to find a good home, but we usually manage to find homes for quite a few of the reptiles we get into the DSPCA.”

Irish Independent

Irish Independent


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