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Boa constrictor emerges from office toilet in San Diego

The five-foot Colombian Rainbow Boa came up from the drain when a worker at the office used a plunger on the toilet.

By Fred Lambert

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- A full-sized boa constrictor slithered out of a toilet at a public relations firm in Southern California last week, according to a press release from the company.

When Stephanie Lacsa, co-founder for Vertical PR + Marketing, noticed a higher-than-usual water level in one of the San Diego office building's toilets last Wednesday, she went to work with a plunger.

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Something then began to emerge from the toilet drain. "I thought my eyes were deceiving me," Lacsa said, according to a statement from the firm published on San Diego Animal Control's Facebook page. "But as soon I saw the flicker of its tongue, I definitely knew that it was in fact a large snake heading straight toward me."

The snake was a Colombian Rainbow Boa, a non-venomous constrictor native to South America. At 5-feet long, the boa was at average full-grown length.

Lasca said she shrieked and ran from the bathroom, taping up the door until animal control arrived and captured the snake.

"The animal control officer said that she had never witnessed anything like this in her career," Lasca said, according to the statement. "She referred to the incident as 'The Stuff of Urban Legends' and I would have to agree."

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Holly Wells, Lasca's co-worker and the co-founder of Vertical PR + Marketing, noted that the office was very old. "Our building, which is the Old San Diego City Hall, was built in 1886 so we are accustomed to the old pipes and stubborn plumbing," she said, according to the release. "But we were definitely not prepared for this."

San Diego Animal Control said Friday in a comment on its Facebook page that the boa was claimed by a friend of the owner, and that its name was "Bella."

Boa constrictors are considered an invasive species in places such as Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, where they thrive in the subtropical climate and are mostly introduced through "escape or release by pet owners."

While it does not list boa constrictors as one of the state's invasive species, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife notes, "Some of the animals that are currently, or were in the past, brought into California as sources of food, fur, or pets have turned into major pests."

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