Friday, June 15, 2001

At the state Plant Quarantine Station, Domingo Cravalho Jr.
showed a ball python found yesterday in a Pacific
Palisades home.

Python on toilet
startles isle family

Officials say the 2-foot snake
most likely was left behind
by the former occupants

By Rod Antone

Glenn Taijeron Sr. said he had just finished shaving when he walked over to the toilet, lifted the lid and almost had a heart attack.

"I saw something crawl back as I lifted the lid, and I jumped," Taijeron said. "My heart was just pumping.

"Then I lifted up the lid some more, and there it was, all sprawled out on the seat."

"It" was a 2-foot-long black-and-yellow ball python. Taijeron said that after finding the snake yesterday around 6:30 a.m. in his Pacific Palisades home, he woke up his son and asked him to get the phone.

"I thought he was joking," said Glenn Jr. "Then my mom woke up and saw the snake and wanted to take pictures. I thought she was crazy."

Added Cynthia Taijeron: "I said, 'Oh, my gosh!' after I peeked into the bathroom, then I went looking for a camera. We had to prove that we had this booger in our house."

For the next hour or so, the family of three said, they took turns taking pictures of each other posing next to the snake, which they said remained coiled on the toilet seat.

Glenn Taijeron Jr. thought his mother was crazy
for wanting to take pictures, but he obliged
her nonetheless.

"We're very adventurous," said Cynthia, 38, a retired Army 1st sergeant and University of Phoenix student. "But we didn't get too close; we stood about two feet away."

"We didn't poke at it or anything, because we didn't know if it was poisonous or not," added Glenn Jr., a 15-year-old sophomore at Moanalua High School.

Between poses, however, Cynthia said everyone was anxiously awaiting some help. "The whole time, we're trying to get the police and the Department of Agriculture out here and asking them, 'When are you going to come?'"

Glenn Sr., 38, said: "At first they thought we were talking about a dead snake. That's when I said, 'It's alive, it's on the toilet and it's not small.'"

Agriculture Department pest control officials said they picked up the python at 7:40 a.m. and that they believe the snake may have been left by the home's former occupant.

"An animal this size wouldn't pose that much risk to an individual," said state animal specialist Domingo Cravalho Jr., who said that ball pythons can grow up to 6 feet in length. "There have been reports of snakes coming up through sewer lines, but this one is pretty young, so I highly doubt it. More likely, it was already in the house after being left behind by someone."

The Taijerons, who bought the three-bedroom house two months ago, said they highly doubt that.

"You tell me where it was hiding all this time," said Glenn Sr., an Air Force master sergeant.

Cravalho said that although the state usually ships snakes to the mainland, the Agriculture Department may keep the python to train its dogs. "We've got one now, but this one is smaller, so maybe we'll get rid of the other one instead."

Possession of snakes is illegal in Hawaii, punishable by fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in prison.

For the Taijerons, the only way the snake incident could have been worse is if someone had not checked the seat before using the toilet.

"Oh yeah, all the time, anywhere I go, I'm looking for them now," Glenn Jr. said.

"We found two centipedes in the house earlier," Glenn Sr. said. "But this ... There's going to be at least one sleepless night."

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