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Posted by W von Papinešu on January 21, 2003 at 12:36:04:
BBC NEWS (London, UK) 21 January 03 Mechanic finds missing snake
A north Wales garage owner had a major shock when he found a five-foot snake lying the footwell of a car he was reparing.
Dave Matthews, from Summerhill near Wrexham, discoverd Milkey the albino Californian kingsnake, seven months after he went missing from his owner's car.
I shut the door in a panic and I phoned the lady who had brought the vehicle in
The reptile had escaped from his tank while owner Andrea Williams was moving house, and she had given up hope of seeing him again.
Mr Matthews said he was working on the care doing body repairs when Milkey appeared.
"I took a door panel off, went to get some tools and when I went back into the car the snake was inside," he said.
"I shut the door in a panic and I phoned the lady who had brought the vehicle in," he added.
But the drama was not over for Mr Matthews, as the five-year-old snake had disappeared behind the dashboard by the time he returned.
The panel beater and sprayer called the RSPCA, and officers arrived to help him dismantle the dashboard so he could be reunited with Ms Williams.
She said she had thought she would never see Millkey again.
"I put posters up everywhere and I searched for weeks but I thought he must have died," she said.
"I just can't believe I've found him after all this time and I'm chuffed to bits.
"Dave phoned me after he found Milkey and asked me if I owned a snake - he sounded a bit shaken.
"I'm so pleased he's home and, despite the weight he has lost, he seems fine.
"He has scratches on him, and he's lost about three quarters of his usual weight."
The Californian Kingsnake is one of the most widely-bred snakes in captivity, and is commonly available in a variety of colours.
They need to be housed separately from other snakes as they are known to eat fellow reptiles.
Tim Jones from the RSPCA said Milkey was being well cared for: "I am staggered that he had survived so long in the car.
"These snakes can go a long while without food, but he has also survived the winter," he said.