Chorley man "jumps a mile" after finding snake in his kitchen months after it escaped from neighbour's home

A Chorley man says he 'jumped a mile' when he found a black snake curled up inside a cardboard box in his kitchen.

Friday, 10th September 2021, 3:39 pm
Updated Friday, 10th September 2021, 3:56 pm

Andy Hunter-Rossall discovered the 30-inch snake snoozing in his Coniston Road kitchen on Wednesday (September 8).

After recovering from the initial shock, he donned a pair of oven gloves and scooped the snake up for a closer look at his scaly houseguest.

To reunite the snake with its owner, Andy posted a picture on Facebook and soon learned that it was his neighbour's Mexican black kingsnake called Phantom and had been missing for months.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The 30-inch kingsnake was found snoozing inside a cardboard box in Andy's kitchen on Wednesday (September 8)

"Yeah, that's our Phantom alright, the sod has been gone for months," said owner Shelley Whitaker.

Shelley said 5-year-old Phantom was an 'expert escape artist' and had slithered out of his vivarium around two months ago.

"I should have called him Houdini," she said, "because the little sod is always escaping."

She said she had not expected to see him again after his last disappearing trick, but recognised him immediately after Andy's Facebook appeal.

Andy says he 'jumped a mile' when he found the black snake curled up inside a cardboard box in his kitchen

King snakes, like most snakes, can live up to 6 months without eating. Andy said he has no idea how long Phantom has been squatting in his kitchen but said he last looked in the cardboard box around a month ago.

"Anyone lost a snake? Just found a very long dark snake curled up in a box in my house," Andy asked folks on Facebook.

"Had the box awhile. Last went in it 3-4 weeks ago. No idea how long he's been there for."

Shelley soon got in touch with Andy, saying: "Yes that’s my snake Phantom. I’m sorry if he gave you a fright. But he's very docile and well handled."

The owner of the 5-year-old snake said it was an 'expert escape artist' and had slithered out of his vivarium around two months ago and had been missing ever since

A bit about Mexican black kingsnakes

Like all kingsnakes, the Mexican black kingsnake is a constrictor and uses its powerful body to envelop and asphyxiate its prey.

It is not venomous and in the wild its diet consists mainly of small rodents, lizards, birds, eggs, and other snakes.

The Mexican black kingsnake is considered a popular pet (especially for novice collectors) because it is quite easy to care for, generally well natured and has no reservations feeding on either live or "pre-killed" rodents.

They are active during the day and at night, but they tend to hunt mostly during the daytime.