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Stowaway snake sneaks on board

ST Patrick famously banned them, but this snake defied the odds and made his way to Ireland.

Zinga writhed into an Ireland-bound toolbag during an apartment move in England. And the corn snake turned up in Ballintra, Co Donegal, over the weekend.

He had been in the country two weeks before he was discovered.

Zinga had been a caged pet of Ballintra-born Eimear Conroy (24) and her fiance Rob.

When they decided to change apartments in Telford, Shropshire, Eimear's parents drove across from Co Donegal to give a hand two weeks ago.

Joe and Clare returned to Ireland via Holyhead and Dublin on bank holiday Monday. A week later Eimear phoned to say Zinga was missing.

Last Saturday evening an unsuspecting Joe dipped his hand into his toolbag as he was doing some repairs.

He said: "I actually felt something move in my hand. I lifted it out and saw that I had the snake by the head. It's only two feet long, but no way was I happy holding a snake -- no matter what the size."

He got a plastic container and used a stick to topple the snake into it, before sealing the lid. When he phoned Eimear to tell her Zinga had been discovered she told him to feed it.

"I told her I'm not going to SuperValu to ask for a dead mouse!" Joe said.

Eventually, Zinga was driven to Ulrike Vaughan's vet clinic in Ballyshannon.

The vet said yesterday she was seeking a home for the snake with someone who knows how to care for exotic pets. She added it was unlikely there would be problems over Zinga's entry to Ireland since he would have been already classed as a safe pet in the UK.

Irish Independent