A Texas woman found a venomous cottonmouth snake lurking in her shoe, Texas police have said.
After finding the serpent hiding in her closet, the woman called animal control for help, and officers from the Southlake Department of Public Safety (DPS) arrived to the scene.
Police officers from Southlake DPS believe it was a baby cottonmouth snake, they said in a statement posted to Facebook. However some commentators on Facebook believe it may be a different species.
“She went to get a shoe (maybe a Chrisssssssstian Louboutin?) in her closet, and this little guy was hanging out inside it!” the statement said. “[…]Officer Barrett is a little bit country and confirmed this was a cottonmouth and not a rat snake or non-venomous snake.”
Police officers used tongs to gently pick up the snake and remove it from the shoe.
“We were gentle with the tongs and were aware if we were not, it could crush bones and hurt the snake,” the police said. “We drove the snake to Bob Jones Park, a heavily wooded and happy wonderland for all woodland creatures, where the snake will live a long, fruitful, life away from shoes.”
The cottonmouth snake is a member of the pit viper family. It possesses a dangerous, highly potent cytotoxic venom. Deaths are rare, but possible, depending on the amount of venom administered in a bite. In most cases, a bitten person will suffer scars and tissue damage. If the bite is severe enough, it may lead to amputation. However, they rarely attack unless provoked. Most bites from the species are dry, meaning they do not inject any venom.
“We want you all to see the level of care and safety we have for all living things,” Southlake DPS said. “The venominity (?!) doesn’t matter. We would handle this call the same either way. We would save the snake.”
Cottonmouth snakes are native to the west of Texas and can also be found in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Florida, Illinois and Indiana.
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, the snakes rarely stray far from bodies of water. The snakes prefer swamps, ponds, lakes and marshes, and can usually be found in canals along the Gulf Coast.
This incident is just one in a flurry of snake incidents across Texas. Snake season is just beginning in Texas.
The snake season begins when the weather begins to warm up in the spring. As snakes are cold-blooded, they are more active in the warm weather, meaning sightings increase.
Venomous snakes may make their way into homes looking for shelter.
Newsweek has contacted the Southlake DPS.