MARCH 15 2012 23:09h

Calif. snake found in N.Y. toilet


NEW YORK, March 15 (UPI) -- A California Kingsnake was in a New York state of mind when it came out of a man's Staten Island apartment toilet, scaring him, he said, half to death.

"I turned the light on at 6:30 a.m. and went to open the vanity when I thought I saw something move in the toilet," Allen Shepard said about his Tuesday encounter with the reptile, WPIX-TV, New York, reported.

"The snake was getting on the top of the rim, ready to strike," Shepard said.

He slammed the lid down and ran to grab some spray toilet cleaner with which to do battle. No go. Time for reinforcements, Shepard called his building super, Karen Genco, WCBS-TV, New York, reported Wednesday.

"I didn't believe him at first, I thought he was joking, but it was for real," Genco said. "It was like a scene out of a cartoon, it was hysterical."

Genco then called plumber Kenneth Rosenthal, WPIX-TV, said.

"All I saw was the tail of the snake, then I kept pulling out more and more and more and before I knew it, I had four feet of snake," Rosenthal said.

"So I was wrestling with this thing to get him out in one piece and finally I hooked him. I got him and threw him into a thermos and that was the end of him."

Well, not the end: The snake was taken to a sanctuary in Manhattan.

The speculation is the snake, probably someone's pet, escaped and entered into the plumbing.

Many Manhattan and Bronx residents have reported snakes emerging from their toilets, WPIX-TV said. The Federal Bureau of Statistics says there have been hundreds of similar incidents in past years: More than 100 of them with fatal results.