Snake Appears on Woman's Car Dashboard While She's Driving

Animal control removed a garter snake from a woman's car after it appeared on her dashboard while she was driving.

Waterford-East Lyme Animal Control in Connecticut was called on Thursday. They were able to get the woman to pull over on the side of the road safely, where the garter snake was removed by the attending animal control officer.

The group posted details of the incident on its Facebook page.

See posts, photos and more on Facebook.

The case is reminiscent of the experience of a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Gail Henderson, last year.

Henderson was making her way along Highway 54 in North Carolina on May 6, 2020, when a 4-foot long black snake suddenly appeared on her dashboard, WRAL reported.

It was stretched lengthwise across the entire front dashboard," she told the station. "I only realized it was there when it started slithering. It took a second before I realized it was a big, long snake!"

The snake had gone unnoticed due to the fact it blended in with the color of Henderson's Subaru. She added: "I managed to pull off the road onto a grassy shoulder and hop out of my car before I completely freaked out."

Opening all the doors and windows, the professor of medicine waited at the side of the highway hoping the snake would exit the car itself. Fortunately, help arrived in the form of Michele Steeley and her then 13-year-old son.

Steeley, who said she was familiar with the reptiles was able to remove the snake and toss it into the grass at the side of the road.

While in both cases the drivers were unharmed, snakes slithering into the carriage of cars can present dangers for road users. These range from bites to distractions that can cause accidents.

Both garter snakes and black snakes as encountered in these incidents are non-venomous, but the issue of snakes making their way into cars can be more dangerous in regions with venomous snakes like copperheads or rattlesnakes.

Snakes for Pets founder Louise Carter offers an explanation of how snakes could come to find themselves inside a car, especially in areas with high snake populations like Texas, Florida and Tennessee.

The most likely way a snake got into a car, the serpent enthusiast who has owned reptiles since she was a little girl says, is through an open door or window. Once in the car's cabin, they seek out small openings like air conditioner vents, footwells, and gloveboxes, and are likely forced out when the car begins moving.

Carter also says that as cold-blooded animals, snakes will often crawl into car engine blocks from underneath or from open hoods seeking warmth. This is unlikely to have happened in cases in which snakes appear on dashboards as she says there is no way for the reptile to make its way from the engine to the cabin.

Risk of Starting a Fire

"The snake can't get in the cabin of your car through vents or bodywork. They may explore these parts of the vehicle, but there's no way they could get into the cabin from here," she says. "The issue with a snake living under your bonnet is that it may not be easy to find. It may be sat on top of your engine, in which case it'll be right in front of you when you pop the hood. But it may be further down in the inner workings of your car."

Carter warns that when snakes find themselves in the interiors of car engines they can quite easily spark fires.

Carter advises that if you do find a snake in your car you should keep an eye on it and call an expert to remove it.

"By leaving the snake alone, you might encourage it to come out. With you around, it won't feel safe coming out, but with you gone, it might consider leaving," she says. "But the snake might find somewhere new to live, moving from your dashboard to under your seat, for example."

To prevent a snake from entering your car in the first place, she says that you should close all windows and doors and try to keep the vehicle stored in a garage, rather than out in the open.

Garter Snake
A file photo of an eastern garter snake. Animal Rescue were called to a woman driver who found a garter snake on the dashboard of her car. 80s_girl/Getty