Police remove 3-foot ball python from Corvette engine

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published September 30, 2019

 Shelby Township police officer Autumn Fettig poses for a picture with the snake that she removed from the engine of a Chevrolet Corvette at a recreational vehicle parking lot near Ryan and Hamlin roads Sept. 18.

Shelby Township police officer Autumn Fettig poses for a picture with the snake that she removed from the engine of a Chevrolet Corvette at a recreational vehicle parking lot near Ryan and Hamlin roads Sept. 18.

Photo provided by the Shelby Township Police Department


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Officers from the Shelby Township Police Department are questioning whether someone lost their pet snake after receiving a call to remove one from the engine of a vehicle in the area of Hamlin Road and Ryan Road Sept. 18.

Officers removed the 3-foot ball python snake from the engine of a Chevrolet Corvette in Shelby Township after a security guard at a recreational vehicle lot called police.

Shelby Township Officer Autumn Fettig and Detective Sgt. Rob Heisler were sent to the lot to remove the snake from the engine and transport it to safety.

Fettig was the first one to the call.

“I got to the RV lot at Ryan and Hamlin (roads) and observed (the snake) slithering around (the lot) and called for someone to bring a box. Three officers arrived, and they brought the dog stick because they said there was no way they were picking it up. While I was waiting, it crawled up inside an old Corvette, most likely looking for warmth, because they love the heat. We were able to get the hood of the car open, and I picked up the snake, put it in the crate, and transported it to the Macomb County Animal Control,” Fettig said via email.

Fettig said she wasn’t too worried about the snake biting her.

“I was familiar with this breed because my friend used to have one, and I knew that they were not aggressive. I was petting it before I grabbed it to make sure that it was not agitated. There is always a potential for snakes to strike, but I was not concerned with this one. I believe it was someone’s pet,” she said.

Fettig said that although she has experience with snakes outside of work, she had never encountered a snake before at work. However, she does seem to get a lot of animal calls.

“Just the normal deer, possum, raccoon calls,” she said.

She said she hopes that this is the first and the last call for a snake.

The department made a post about the snake that same night on Facebook, and many people said they would adopt or take care of it until it was claimed or had a home.

“I am not sure if anyone claimed the snake, but on social media there were tons of people saying they would adopt or foster it. Macomb Animal Control said they have local reptile shops that would be in assistance as well,” Fettig said.

Fettig said she is just happy that the snake was found in time and was friendly.

“I am happy that the security guard found the snake, because they do not do well in the cold weather. At night, it drops in the 60s now, and it wouldn’t have made it long out on its own,” she said.

She said that she and the officer she partners with were just talking about how he is scared of snakes.

“I was just talking with my partner the night before about how terrified he was of snakes, and we both got sent to the call. He ended up making a traffic stop, which resulted in an arrest. He lucked out, but I told him he owes me on the next weird animal call.”

Heisler swooped in with the box to help Fettig transport the snake.

“I assisted by showing up with a box and a dog pole. Once I saw the size and how sluggish the snake was, it was obvious the dog pole may not be needed. Officer Fettig was handling the call, and I was there to assist if needed. Just grabbing the snake and pulling it out of the motor would most likely have caused injury. Officer Fettig waited until it was untangled and was able to lift it in the box. Once it was secured, it was a challenge to find somewhere to house it after hours. Macomb County Animal Control came in to accept the snake and provide it shelter,” he said in an email.

Heisler said he has never had to capture a snake, but he has had to go on calls for all sorts of animal-related investigations.

“I have never had to capture a snake before. I have been sent out to investigate an alligator (Auburn/Dequindre area), a fox from a basement, bats from a living room, raccoons from a fireplace, deer from inside buildings, and a couple pigs,” he said.

The pig calls were separate ones from the call four years ago about a runaway pig that made national news thanks to a comical picture of the happy-looking pig sitting in the back of a police car.

Heisler was glad to be able to rescue the snake and make sure it was safe.

“I don’t think mid-60s is an optimum temperature for a python. I wanted (the) snake to be captured on this call so it didn’t make a home inside someone’s trailer or vehicle,” he said.

If you are missing a pet snake, call the Shelby Township Police Department at (586) 731-2121.