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Last Updated: Wednesday February 23 2011 14:26 GMT

Escaped snake runs up huge cleaning bill for its owner

A boa constrictor, but this isn't Penelope.

A snake that slithered away from its owner and hid on a train in America has run up a massive cleaning bill.

Penelope the boa constrictor was travelling on the underground, around her owner Melissa Moorhouse's neck, when she slipped away between stations.

She stayed hidden for nearly a month before being reunited with Melissa, who's now been told to pay £400 to disinfect the train.

Officials say they need to get rid of any germs Penelope may have left.

Transport bosses in Allston, Massachusetts, where Penelope first went missing, say some travellers had written to them with health concerns.

Melissa isn't happy about the cleaning bill but says she'll definitely pay more attention the next time she takes Penelope out in public.