Pilot Didn't Like His Arm Being Licked
What's a pilot supposed to do when you're flying along, minding
your own business... and a snake starts "licking" your arm? Getting
it off of you with some aerobatics is one way.
Dr. Ed Carruth did just that during a flight across Mississippi
Thursday. The physician was flying along in his unknown-type
one-seater when a stowaway made its presence known in the form of a
grey rat snake, according to the Associated Press.
"I've been flying planes for 50 years and over 14,000 hours, and
this is the most unusual in-flight emergency I've encountered," he
said. "I guess it wasn't exactly an emergency, but I did almost
hurt myself when I saw it."
Since he didn't have anything to remove the snake and since he
really wanted to maintain control of his aircraft, how did he get
the snake away from him?
"I did some aerobatics," Carruth said. "And once he got
oriented, he went to the back of the plane."
Carruth landed safely at Brookhaven Municipal Airport where a
snake expert was summoned to remove the interloper.
According to expert Joey Padillo, the resident snake expert, who
released the stowaway into the wild, it's really not all that
uncommon for snakes to live in hangars.
"The snakes are in there after the mice. And the hangar is cool
on the inside, and that's why he was in there in the first place,"
There was a similar incident last year in Ohio during a cross
country flight, as ANN reported. Monty Coles
was more than a bit surprised when he spotted a snake peering at
him from behind the instrument panel of his Piper Cherokee.
"Nothing in any of the manuals ever described anything like
this," the 62-year-old Cross Lanes, WV resident said. But the
advice given 25 years earlier from his flight instructor
immediately came to mind: "No matter what happens, fly the plane,"
Coles told the Associated Press.
While maintaining control of his aircraft with one hand, Coles
reached down and grabbed the snake behind its head with his other
"There was no way I was letting that thing go. It coiled all
around my arm, and its tail grabbed hold of a lever on the floor
and started pulling," he said.
Coles then radioed the Gallipolis tower, asking clearance for an
"They came back and asked what my problem was. I told them I had
one hand full of snake and the other hand full of plane. They
cleared me in."
According to the Mississippi Herpetological Atlas, gray rat
snakes are non-venomous constrictors feeding on frogs, lizards,
rodents, rabbits and birds, and are adept climbers.