SALEM - City police rescued a snake which had probably been someone's pet after receiving a call at 9:22 p.m. Tuesday to respond to a West Pershing Street home.
A woman in the 300 block had reported a large snake on the front steps of the residence and when officers arrived, they saw the serpent attempting to crawl beneath the exterior siding.
The snake estimated at 3 feet in length didn't appear to be indigenous to the area and it was unknown at the time whether it was poisonous, but Sgt. Brent Slider grasped the snake's body and gently pulled it away from the house until it was able to be grasped behind its head, rendering it unable to bite him.
The resident provided the officer with a large tin containing a lid to place the snake inside. The report said she didn't want the tin back.
Pure Pet store owner Emily Ellsworth said she received a knock on her door Tuesday night and found the police with the snake inside the tin.
She identified it as a California king snake, a native of the western United States which is not poisonous or harmful and is actually common to this area as a pet snake.
"It's nothing to be afraid of," she said.
She agreed to take the snake and care for it. The snake, which actually measures about 2 feet long and is the width of a nickel, was dehydrated and really thirsty. She said it was probably somebody's pet, but she didn't think it had escaped recently because of its condition.
Ellsworth said the snake will be okay and should recover.
She was glad the police officer handled the situation the way he did, noting the snake wasn't a danger to anyone and wasn't meant to be outside since it had been a pet.
She said she would rather see anyone who finds something like that to call police before taking any action to harm an animal which could be harmless. She said people with questions about snakes can contact Pure Pet on Penn Avenue in Salem.