Redz the snake usually stays inside her owner’s pocket when she rides the bus in Philadelphia. But during a ride on Sunday, she was hungry and decided to wander around a little.
The four-foot long boa constrictor’s brief journey was short-lived because passengers understandably freaked out at the sight of her slithering around the floor.
Not everyone thinks a reptile is a cozy pet like Koron Riley who, after Redz was returned to him after she got stuck under one of the seats, said he “loves her to death,” CBS Local reported.
This man says he was thrown off 52 bus aftr snake got loose.He says she's gentle, SEPTA apparently didn't agree#CBS3 pic.twitter.com/r933Nf7Oag
— Rahel Solomon (@RahelCBS3) October 18, 2015
Thankfully for him, the passengers have since forgiven him for accidentally letting his precious reptile loose. But unfortunately, Riley, 26, of Philadelphia, may now face criminal charges.
About 3 p.m. Sunday, Koron stepped onto a Route 52 bus in Philadelphia with something unusual draped around his neck: Redz, a Brazilian red-tailed boa constrictor, Philly.com reported. She was hidden under his jacket and in his pocket.
He boarded with the 3-year-old animal in tow because it was feeding time; the pair were headed to a pet store in Philadelphia called Monster Pets to buy live rats.
But somewhere along the way, things got a little slippery.
“She had slithered out of my pocket on the way back and she got stuck in between the chairs. Some people started to freak out because it was a snake on the bus, and they started talking about snakes on the plane.”
Though a giant boa, loose in a confined space, would be frightening to behold, Koron assured she wasn’t dangerous. A Red Tail Boa mixed with a Brazilian Rainbow, according to WPVI, she didn’t slither around for long. Soon, she coiled in a compartment underneath a seat.
While fellow passengers freaked out, the driver pulled over near an intersection for an emergency evacuation. The operator contacted Philadelphia transit police.
“There was surely some excitement and some alarm among some folks upon seeing the snake and it getting away from the owner,” said transit authority spokesman Andrew Busch.
With the coast clear of panicked people, a mechanic dismantled the seat, and a transit police officer pulled out the snake with gloved hands.
Riley was relieved. His beloved Redz was returned to him after her brief adventure and he thanked the officer with a grateful hug. He’s also apologetic to his fellow passengers for frightening them on what should’ve been a run-of-the-mill bus ride.
“I apologized to everybody, I didn’t mean for her to get out. Most people accepted my apology.”
— FOX 4 News (@fox4kc) October 19, 2015
Luckily, no bus riders were hurt by the snake.
Now, Koron may face criminal charges for bringing his boa on a Philadelphia bus. Riders are permitted to bring service animals or small pets aboard buses and trains, but small pets must be contained. Clearly, Redz wasn’t, and it’s not clear if she was a service animal for the young man.
The rules don’t refer to snakes. Riley said he was unaware of the policy when he boarded the bus.
So far, the transit authority hasn’t decided whether to charge him, though if they do, he could face charges of reckless endangerment and interfering with the operation of mass transit.
After the excitement, Riley and Redz went on their way. Since the snake still needed to be fed, they went to the pet store as planned and stocked up on live rats. Then Riley once again boarded a Philadelphia bus to head back home with his snake in tow. But this time, he had some extra cargo: rats.
“This is a $450 dollar snake and I love her to death,” he said.
[Photo Courtesy fivespots / Shutterstock]