Two San Diego women experienced the stuff of nightmares this week when they found a 5-foot boa constrictor emerging from a toilet in downtown office building.
Stephanie Lacsa said she first noticed the toilet water level was higher than usual on Tuesday in the office restroom at her firm, Vertical PR + Marketing, in Old City Hall.
She began plunging and saw a snake begin to emerge from the bowl.
“I thought my eyes were deceiving me,” Lacsa said in the firm's news release, which was distributed by County of San Diego Department of Animal Services. “But as soon I saw the flicker of its tongue, I definitely knew that it was in fact a large snake heading straight towards me.”
She ran out of the bathroom screaming.
Lacsa called county animal control officers, Scotch-taping the restroom door shut until they arrived. The officer who responded said the incident was the “stuff of urban legends,” Lacsa said.
“This is every person's worst nightmare,” Lacsa said.
The snake, identified as a Colombian rainbow boa, was taken to a veterinarian for future care.
It was curled up behind the toilet when the officer arrived at the building at Fifth Avenue and G Street, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The snake was underweight and shedding, according to a county news release. While being examined, it bit its handler the county stated.
Dan DeSousa, deputy director of the Department of Animal Services, called the incident "something that, in the 25 years I've worked in animal services, I've never seen happen."
If no owner comes forward by Friday, the snake will be given to a reptile group with experience handling such snakes, the county said.
"We're hoping that someone comes forward and says, 'Um, I lost my snake," DeSousa said in a county YouTube video.
It was not clear how the reptile ended up in the toilet, but it's "not completely unusual" for animals to enter plumbing systems, especially in rural areas or in old buildings with stone foundations, according to the PR firm's release.
San Diego's Old City Hall was built in 1874, according to the city's website.
"We are accustomed to the old pipes and stubborn plumbing," said Holly Wells, co-founder of Vertical PR + Marketing. "But we were definitely not prepared for this."