A 5½-foot boa constrictor slithered out of a toilet in a downtown office late Tuesday afternoon.
Yes, it’s true.
The wayward snake made his startling appearance in a PR firm’s restroom on the second floor of the old San Diego City Hall building at 5th Avenue and G Street in the Gaslamp.
Stephanie Lacsa and Holly Wells, co-founders of Vertical PR + Marketing, got the shock of their lives when their uninvited visitor appeared.
Plumbing problem? The snake’s discovery came after Lacsa noticed the water in the toilet was unusually high. So she grabbed a plunger. Never did she expect the head and beady eyes of a snake to pop up as she plunged.
“As soon I saw the flicker of its tongue, I definitely knew that it was, in fact, a large snake heading straight toward me,” said Lacsa.
She ran out of the bathroom, taped the door shut and called the county Department of Animal Services for help.
When a county officer arrived, they opened to the door to discover the boa had crawled out of the toilet and was coiled behind its base. “I just couldn’t believe my eyes,” said Wells.
Where is he now? The boa now is in the custody of Animal Services, where Deputy Director Dan DeSousa reports they found a few mites and it’s underweight (4.78 pounds) but in good condition overall.
“He’s a little nippy,” DeSousa says. “He bit one of our staff.” That could be because the snake was identified as a Colombian rainbow boa, known to be testy, rather than the more docile rosy boas usually sold in pet stores. Plus it’s shedding its skin.
If no one claims the boa, DeSousa says it will be turned over to a rescue group that handles snakes on Friday.
Who owns it? Meanwhile, Jason Zana, who manages the four-story mixed-use downtown building, appears to have solved the mystery of where the snake came from, although not how it got into the sewer system.
He was as surprised as everyone by its discovery because none of his building’s tenants had reported owning a boa constrictor. The ground floor houses Florent restaurant (formerly Jimmy Love’s) and residential units occupy the top two floors. On Wednesday morning, he sent a query to all the occupants.
Before long, he learned that someone living on the fourth floor did, indeed, have a pet boa constrictor. He then informed his other tenants via email:
“After following the trail of the snake and doing my best Ace Ventura impression, it looks like the snake was just a lost pet of one of our tenants. So, we can all relax now that we know our sewer systems are not infested with snakes!”
Zana said that he never before has encountered a snake in a toilet but, about three years ago, a six-foot boa was reported missing by one of his Point Loma tenants.