On the morning of November 11, a private citizen found an Eastern Ratsnake stuck in an air vent in their home in Ruckersville, Virginia. The snake had entered the ductwork from an unknown access point and managed to squeeze the first few inches of its body through the grille of the air vent before becoming stuck. The concerned citizen carefully detached the entire vent from the floor, contacted the Wildlife Center for assistance, and transported the snake to the Center where veterinary staff could safely remove it from the vent.
On admission, the veterinary team immediately anesthetized the snake and used pliers and metal cutters to widen the spaces between the grilles. Dr. Emily, one of the Center’s veterinary interns, applied a lubricating gel that allowed her to gently pull the snake free without causing additional damage to its scales. After freeing the Ratsnake, Dr. Emily performed a full physical examination and found a small laceration on the right side of its body and several roughened scales that had been damaged by the vent. Radiographs did not reveal any broken bones or additional injuries. Dr. Emily sutured the laceration closed and started the snake on anti-inflammatory and pain medications as well as supportive fluids.
The snake’s prognosis is guarded; while its injuries are relatively minor, there is a possibility that the snake could experience complications from its entrapment. For now, the snake is being housed in the Center’s climate-controlled reptile room where the veterinary team will continue to closely monitor its injuries.