Randall McCauley made an unexpected discovery when he opened the passenger door of his rented U-Haul on Friday.
McCauley found a three-foot adult ball python that had been traveling with him on the floorboard of the passenger seat.
McCauley said he picked up the 24-foot U-Haul on Monday afternoon from Storage Central in Redmond to move from Three Rivers to Bend. He used the truck all day unaware of what was lying beside him.
“We were finished with the truck and I was going to move it to the end of the driveway to do a walk-around to make sure we got everything,” he said. “I got in the driver's side and (saw) there was still a box on the passenger floor.”
When McCauley opened the passenger door to remove the box he saw the tail of a snake.
Confused as to why there would be a snake in the truck, McCauley closed the door and rushed to show his wife and two daughters what was in the U-Haul.
“They were freaked out at the fact that they rode with it all week not knowing that it was in the cab with them,” he said. “They were all wearing flip-flops.”
While McCauley said he thinks the snake was in the truck when he rented it, Mike Koepf, a sales associate from Central Storage, said that wouldn't be possible.
“The trucks are all checked and cleaned before they are rented out,” Koepf said. “Are you going to get into your car and not notice a 3-foot snake sitting next to you? It's pretty hard to miss.”
Koepf acknowledges that a snake was in the truck, but said no one knows how it got there.
McCauley called animal control officers to remove the snake. Sheriff's Deputies Daniel Graham and Jason Wall were sent to the scene because there is not a separate department for animal control complaints.
The deputies called the Reptile Zone, a Bend pet store, to get advice on how to capture the snake safely, said Jeff Jensen, the owner of the shop. The deputies placed the python in a pillow case to transport it to the Reptile Zone.
Jensen said ball pythons are not native to Central Oregon and are not poisonous. He said the snake either escaped from captivity or was dropped off intentionally.
“This could have been a quick way to get rid of a snake,” Jensen said.
Jensen plans to quarantine the snake for a week while he assesses its temperament and disposition. He said there is a good chance the python has found a home with him for educational presentations. Jensen said he hasn't named the snake yet.