HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A U-Haul manager in Virginia was in for a slithery surprise when she opened a rental truck’s door to find a 2-3-foot python on the vehicle’s floor.
Using social media, Virginia’s Wildlife Management and Control team learned the reptile was someone’s pet from Newport News.
“We didn’t even think it was alive,” said Management and Control’s Richard Perry. “It was frozen.”
Wildlife crews determined it was a non-venomous python — a species not native to central Virginia. The wildlife team spent all night working to revive the creature.
“We didn’t even think it would make it through the night,” Perry said. “It was in very, very bad shape.”
In addition to caring for the python all night, the team sat puzzled, trying to figure out how it ended up in a U-Haul in Henrico. They quickly learned it did not belong to the vehicle’s previous renter.
“The previous driver was driving around with a 3-foot python in the vehicle — in the cab — and had no idea the snake was there,” Perry exclaimed.
Eventually, Perry and his crew took to social media to try to spread the word about the scaly stowaway.
“By the grace of God,” Perry started. “Because of our Facebook post, [word] just went around and got back to [the snake’s owner].”
The owner has arranged a reunion with her pet. It turns out the owner had rented a U-Haul previously and thought her snake had gone missing somewhere along the trip for which she used it. She had no idea her snake had remained in the truck and hitched a ride across the state.
A reunion is planned for the Newport News family and the python, which they say is more than a pet and has a personal meaning to the family.
“It’s going to be an extremely … very cool, very touching, very emotional, but very exciting story,” Perry said of the upcoming reunion.
According to the United States Geological Survey, many python species — which are native to Africa, Asia and Australia — have made it to the U.S. due to their popularity as pets.