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Fall Branch woman finds snake in toilet

Finding a snake in your toilet is not an everyday occurrence. And for that, one Fall Branch woman is extremely thankful.
Eighty-year-old Almeta Moore got quite a shock recently as she went about her morning routine to ready herself for her day’s activities.
Preparing for a doctor’s appointment, Moore was just finishing up in the bathroom when she reached for the toilet handle to flush and discovered a problem – the handle seemed to be jammed.
Puzzled, Moore fiddled with the handle, but it wouldn’t budge. She removed the toilet tank lid to investigate.
As she peered into the tank, she saw something tangled around the handle’s mechanism and draped into the bottom of the tank.
“I just stood there for a while and stared at it and wondered to myself, ‘What in the world is that?’” Moore said. “Then all of a sudden I realized what it was – it was a snake. I screamed and slammed the lid back on the tank and then I called my neighbor to come and help me.”
Moore’s neighbor, Tim Cox, came right over, but it took some creative thinking to find an effective way to remove the snake from the toilet.
“I went to the kitchen and got some tongs,” Moore said.
Cox donned rubber gloves, used the tongs and was able to get a firm grip on the snake’s head, which was wedged under the flapper valve inside the tank.
“I told him to hold on tight and not let loose of it,” Moore said, adding that it took quite a while for Cox to untangle the reptile from the inner workings of the toilet.
“I guess the whole thing didn’t take more than about 10-15 minutes,” Moore said, “but it seemed like a whole lot longer. He (Cox) had to carry that thing all the way through my house.”
The two took the reptile outside where it was disposed of.
The snake, which Moore describes as having brown or black and yellow bands was nearly 3 feet long.
“I have no idea how it got in there,” Moore said. “When I finally got to the doctor’s office, I told him about it and he didn’t believe me. He said, ‘No way.’”
But the photos Moore managed to snap of the snake inside the toilet tank remove all doubt, and stories of her adventure have apparently made quite an impression on her neighbors.
“I’ll tell you one thing,” Moore said with a grin. “It’s got everybody looking in their commode before they sit down now.”
Most people need not worry, says Mark Arwood, assistant superintendent of water distribution for the Town of Jonesborough.
Such occurrences are rare since there are really only two ways the snake could have gotten into Moore’s toilet, according to Arwood.
“It either had to crawl through the house, into the toilet bowl and then up into the tank, or it could have come in through a break in the sewer/septic tank line,” he said.
“There is absolutely no way it could have come in through the water line,” he added, explaining that the line is only ¾ inches in diameter and the systems have screens over all valves. “And if that’s not enough, the chlorine would kill it.”
Arwood suggests anyone who has concerns about unwanted visitors entering their facilities check for breaks in their sewage lines and look for cracks between the plumbing and the commode tank.
Check to see if there are trees nearby, Arwood also recommends, as tree roots can often cause damage to the lines.
Additionally, homeowners should look for a sunken place in the ground where the line runs from the septic tank to the house.
That, he said, is often a visual indicator of a break.