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EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 21 January, 2003, 17:47 GMT
Mechanic finds missing snake
Andrea Williams and her snake
Andrea lost her snake several months ago
A north Wales garage owner had a major shock when he found a five-foot snake lying in the footwell of a car he was repairing.

Dave Matthias, from Summerhill near Wrexham, discovered Milkey the albino Californian kingsnake, seven months after he went missing from his owner's car.

I shut the door in a panic and I phoned the lady who had brought the vehicle in

Dave Matthias Garage owner

The reptile had escaped from his tank while owner Andrea Williams was moving house, and she had given up hope of seeing him again.

Mr Matthias said he was working on the car doing body repairs when Milkey appeared.

"I took a door panel off, went to get some tools and when I went back into the car the snake was inside," he said.

"I shut the door in a panic and I phoned the lady who had brought the vehicle in," he added.

Dave Matthias
Dave Matthias discovered the snake

But the drama was not over for Mr Matthias, as the five-year-old snake had disappeared behind the dashboard by the time he returned.

The panel beater and sprayer called the RSPCA, and officers arrived to help him dismantle the dashboard so Milkey could be reunited with Ms Williams.

She said she had thought she would never see Milkey again.

"I put posters up everywhere and I searched for weeks but I thought he must have died," she said.

"I just can't believe I've found him after all this time and I'm chuffed to bits.

Popular snake

"Dave phoned me after he found Milkey and asked me if I owned a snake - he sounded a bit shaken.

"I'm so pleased he's home and, despite the weight he has lost, he seems fine.

"He has scratches on him, and he's lost about three quarters of his usual weight."

The Californian kingsnake is one of the most widely-bred snakes in captivity, and is commonly available in a variety of colours.

They need to be housed separately from other snakes as they are known to eat fellow reptiles.

Tim Jones from the RSPCA said Milkey was being well cared for: "I am staggered that he had survived so long in the car.

"These snakes can go a long while without food, but he has also survived the winter," he said.


More from north east Wales
See also:

02 Oct 02 | England
22 Feb 01 | Wales
15 Feb 99 | UK
01 Aug 00 | Scotland
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