Thursday 27 April 2017

Video: Meet Paddy, the snake who fell from the ceiling and onto a Dublin homeowner’s head

Paddy the snake outside DSPCA in Rathfarnham
Paddy the snake outside DSPCA in Rathfarnham

Meadhbh McGrath

Last Friday, an unsuspecting homeowner discovered there was a snake hiding in the attic of his Dublin home – when the reptile fell through a hole in the ceiling and landed on his head.

The man quickly managed to get a box over the snake, and frantically called the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) for help.

The rat snake, which measures close to five feet in length, has been nicknamed ‘Paddy’, and is now in the care of the DSPCA.

The homeowner told the DSPCA that the snake belonged to his previous tenant, who has since come forward after reading about Paddy in the news.

“We are delighted that we managed to find the owner, who is ecstatic to have found his snake,” Gillian Bird, a spokesperson for the DSPCA, told independent.ie, as Paddy wrapped himself around the arms of Graham O'Brien, operations manager for the animal welfare charity.

“It has been missing since last September. He was very upset and had spent a lot of time looking for it but hadn’t been able to find it.”

This nearly five-foot long rat snake landed on top of the unsuspecting homeowner.
This nearly five-foot long rat snake landed on top of the unsuspecting homeowner.

Rat snakes are typically found in cornfields in North America, where they eat rats and mice. However, Ms Bird explained that Paddy is so weak he has been unable to eat anything.

“Paddy actually hasn’t had anything to eat yet, we’ve been concentrating on trying to get his body temperature back up, but you can see now he’s becoming quite lively, so we will be starting to feed him.

“He should be nearly twice the thickness that he is, and he was quite dehydrated, so we’ve given him plenty of drink and he’ll have a slow diet.”

As Paddy recovers, he has become easier and safer to handle, but it was a different story when the DSPCA initially discovered him.

“He was a little bit aggressive when he was being collected, and he has a tendency to attempt to strike, which would be to bite, but that’s probably because he’s been living on his own for a while and hasn’t had much human interaction,” said Ms Bird.

“He’s not dangerous. Obviously he could bite, but he wouldn’t cause you too much harm.

“He’d probably damage himself more because they can actually injure their jaws when you’re trying to remove them from your hand or finger. He’s a beautiful animal.”

This isn’t the first time that a pet snake has slithered away from its owner - Ms Bird noted the DSPCA receive “five or six calls a year” about stray snakes.

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