Pet snake survives winter outside in Alaska

SITKA, Alaska (AP) — A Sitka woman has been reunited with her pet snake after it slithered out the door almost a year ago.

Lavender, a corn snake, was found Tuesday in a man’s yard and it was reunited with her owner Robin McNeilley after a picture of the snake ran in the newspaper, The Sitka Daily Sentinel reported ( ).

“I saw the picture in the paper and she has really distinctive head markings, so I looked and I said ‘that looks like our snake,'” McNeilley said. “She looks a lot bigger in the newspaper, but then I saw there was a pen there for scale.”

Lavender escaped from her enclosure in August and wasn’t seen again until this week. The 20-inch snake survived Sitka’s winter, predators and even the lawnmower of the man who found her. Jim Way noticed the reptile when he was mowing his lawn and at first wanted to run it over. He instead decided to house it in a 5-gallon bucket, sending a photo of the snake to the Sentinel.

Way lives only a few doors down from McNeilley.

“My chickens could have easily eaten this snake if it was in my own yard,” McNeilley said. “Birds love snakes. We have crows and ravens and even an eagle could have made a snack out of this. It survived a whole winter, almost no food, predators. (Corn snakes) are a heartier snake but they’re still a cold-blooded animal that needs help.”

Way said he is happy the little snake made it home, but there was no picturesque reunion when McNeilley came to retrieve her. Lavender had not been too friendly while he kept her in the bucket, so he was surprised to see McNeilley grab the snake with no hesitation.

“It was a happy ending to the snake story,” he said. “Good thing I didn’t run it over.”

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