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california king snake - Mother Wakes to Find Snake in Daughter's Crib

Updated on June 10, 2008

When her daughter Isabella awoke in the middle of the night, Cari Abatemarco probably thought the infant needed a bottle or a diaper change, but the New York woman was instead shocked to find a snake in the 7-month-old's crib, Newsday reported Tuesday.

Abatemarco of Troy, N.Y., says she was visiting family on Long Island, in Brentwood, last week when she discovered the snake coiled around Isabella's leg.

The mother told Newsday that she lifted her daughter out of the crib and the snake fell off. Her uncle then used a back-scratcher to lift the hissing snake and place it in a bucket until animal control officers arrived.

"Once I lifted her up and the snake fell off of her, she stopped crying," Abatemarco said. "But then I was the one crying all night."

The reptile has been identified as a 1-foot-long California king. While non-venomous, it is still a constrictor commonly kept as a pet.

Officials said they don't know where the snake came from, but Abatemarco told the paper that the reptile may have been in a mattress recently bought by her parents.

A mother in Brentwood checked on her sleeping daughter to find a real-life urban legend come true: There was a snake in her baby's crib, she said.

Cari Abatemarco, 32, of upstate Troy, was visiting family in Brentwood late last week when she awoke after 1 a.m. Thursday to the sound of her 7-month-old daughter's cries and responded as any mother would. She said she found a live snake coiled around baby Isabella's leg.

"Once I lifted her up and the snake fell off of her, she stopped crying. But then I was the one crying all night," Abatemarco said.

Abatemarco's uncle Charlie Vecchiarelli eventually pried the hissing snake from Isabella's crib with a back-scratcher and placed it in a bucket, according to Joyce Abatemarco, the baby's grandmother. Animal control officers said they picked it up later Thursday and brought it to the Town of Islip animal shelter in Bay Shore.

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Animal control workers identified the snake as a California king snake and said it was a little more than a foot long. Joyce Abatemarco, who lives in the home where the incident took place, said it was closer to 4 feet.

A spokeswoman for Islip Town confirmed that an animal control officer took the snake. The reptile is not venomous but is a constrictor and is sometimes kept as a pet. Officials said they could not be sure where it came from.

The snake is not indigenous to Long Island and will probably be adopted by an organization that cares for exotic animals, said Joanne Daly, supervisor of the Islip Animal Shelter.

Cari Abatemarco, who is legislative director for state Sen. Craig Johnson (D-Port Washington) in his Albany office, said her parents had recently bought the baby's mattress at a store in Bay Shore, and family members said the packaging was not secure. She said she believes the snake may have been in the mattress when they bought it. The family declined to name the store.

The snake's appearance in the home, however, could have had something to do with the weekend heat wave, said Gary Rogers, a captain with the Suffolk SPCA, who said his agency referred the case to the animal shelter.

"You open a window, it's warm out, they are probably looking for shade, too," he said.

Joyce Abatemarco speculated the snake may have been an escaped pet. "Not us," she added, "We're more puppy-doggy kind of people."

For now, Daly said, the snake is "thriving" in captivity.


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    • profile image


      10 years ago

      wow scary


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