GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Snakes are not an uncommon sight for the workers who repair HVAC units. But one technician got quite a surprise Tuesday when he found a ball python hiding inside the outdoor unit at a Gulfport home.
It started as a typical workday for technician Conner Smith as he arrived at the home of Steve Ramos. However, that simple service call to do some maintenance repairs quickly turned into an event when Smith opened up the unit and a baby ball python stared back at him.
Ramos said he heard Smith say “whoa” but thought that he was just shocked by the repairs that were needed. Moments later, Smith came into the house and told Ramos that he had found the homeowner’s ball python.
There’s only one problem: Ramos doesn’t own a ball python.
Ramos said it was at that moment that recent happenings began to make a lot more sense.
“I’ve been having problems with rats on the roof,” said Ramos. “At night, I would hear a thud on the roof, and I think it may have been that python dropping out of the tree and gorging himself on the rats. My dogs have been going nuts barking at that tree!”
Finding animals inside AC units is not an uncommon event. In fact, it’s one that HVAC techs run into pretty frequently.
“It’s something we see quite often,” said Smith. "Reptiles like to get in there because it’s warm. It’s just something we face, just part of the job.”
Smith said he mainly sees snakes and lizards inside the units, as well as wasp nests. In fact, he said he was just stung by wasps a few weeks ago after finding a nest inside a unit.
Fortunately, another tech who works with Smith helps rescue snakes and knows a bit about them. Smith said his coworker told him the snake found at Ramos’ home is a young ball python, possibly a year or so old. It was about a foot-and-a-half long, said Ramos.
Smith’s coworker took the python to an animal refuge group that is able to care for snakes.
“So he’s in a nice, safe home,” said Smith.
That nice, safe home is definitely preferable to living in the AC unit under the deck at Ramos’ house, joked the Gulfport resident.
“If they hadn’t found it, I wonder how long that thing would have lived around here until my dog went missing... or I went missing,” laughed Ramos.
The big question that remains is where the python came from.
“I’m not afraid of snakes but how weird is it that a python was out under the deck," questioned Ramos. "Now I’m kinda wondering…”