The snake that slithered out of a toilet in an office building in downtown San Diego apparently belonged to a resident in the building and may have gone missing while hunting for water, officials said Thursday.
The nearly 6-foot-long Colombian rainbow boa may have been seeking water in the toilet of its owner during the process of shedding its skin, according to Lt. Dan DeSousa, deputy director of the county Department of Animal Services.
The snake may then have made its way to the toilet of an office in the same building, DeSousa said. The snake was probably in the sewer system of the aging building for a short time, maybe just hours or days at the most, he said.
The snake remains at an animal care facility, awaiting the owner to request its return, DeSousa said. The department has contacted the owner and given him the option of reclaiming his pet. If he declines, another owner will be sought.
"It's a bit of an unhappy snake, which is understandable," DeSousa said. "Colombian rainbow boas are known to be nippy."
After being removed from the building by a Department of Animal Services employee, the snake bit a handler on the hand.
The snake emerged Wednesday morning from the toilet of the Vertical PR + Marketing firm -- putting a fright into the firm's co-founders Holly Wells and Stephanie Lasca. The building was built in 1886 and for decades served as City Hall.
"I thought my eyes were deceiving me," Lasca said. "This is every person's worst nightmare."
She screamed and ran from the bathroom, slamming the door and calling the Department of Animal Services.
Despite their fright, Lasca and Wells have no hard feelings toward the boa.
"We truly hope he gets the care he needs and can be placed in a good home," Wells said.