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Donegal man comes face-to-face with snake... in his toolbox

The two-foot corn snake had arrived from England – and isn’t the first unwanted visitor to these shores.

A corn snake similar to the one found by Joe Conroy
A corn snake similar to the one found by Joe Conroy
Image: Carlitos Pereira via Flickr

A DONEGAL MAN discovered a two-foot snake in his tool bag at the weekend after accidentally smuggling it over from the UK.

Joe Conroy and his wife Clare had been helping their daughter Eimear move house in England two weeks ago. A week later, Eimear phoned to say her pet corn snake, Zinga, was missing. But it wasn’t until he unthinkingly reached for a tool at the weekend that Joe realised Zinga had stowed away among his screwdrivers, the Irish Independent reports.

Joe, from Ballintra, Co Donegal, said: “I actually felt something move in my hand. I lifted it out and saw that I had the snake by the head. It’s only two feet long, but no way was I happy holding a snake – no matter what the size.”

Zinga – who was later taken to a vet’s clinic in Ballyshannon – is not the first exotic object to reach these shores. Here are some other visitors that didn’t help the tourist economy:

  • A false black widow spider was found in a bunch of supermarket grapes in the North in 2008, and genuine black widows have also been discovered. “You never know what you are going to get when you get a bunch of bananas or a bunch of grapes,” one expert said at the time.
  • Eggs carried in bags of grain and dry goods were thought to be behind a 2008 explosion in Ireland’s numbers of Oriental cockroaches – an unusually large variety.
  • A quantity of powerful explosive was discovered in a flat on Dublin’s Dorset Street last year after being stashed in an unsuspecting passenger’s luggage by Slovakian airport security services – whose systems then failed to pick it up again.
  • There is an established community of black rats on Lambay Island off Dublin. The rats, originally native to India, arrived after stowing away on ocean freighters.
  • Last year two children discovered a large tarantula in a shop in Carlow town. Luckily, the spider – which was thought to have arrived from Peru – was already dead.
  • It didn’t quite make it to Ireland, but the world’s deadliest spider – the four-inch Brazilian Wandering Spider – was found by a supermarket worker stacking bananas in Kent, England three years ago. The whole supermarket was forced to close until it was caught.

About the author:

Michael Freeman

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