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Gopher snake who ate rubber 'dummy egg' returns to wild

Injured snake spent 35 days at San Diego Humane Society's Ramona Wildlife Center for care

RAMONA - A Gopher snake who swallowed a fake chicken egg is back in the wild after being rehabilitated at San Diego Humane Society's Ramona Wildlife Center. The snake was released near the location where they had been found Thursday, July 20 by Project Wildlife's Rehab Specialist team.

The Gopher snake was brought in by a local farmer June 16 after swallowing the farmer's "dummy" chicken egg, which is made out of a plastic polymer product. Farmers often use dummy eggs to get their chickens to lay eggs, and snakes sometimes mistake them for real eggs. The finder said he would discontinue using the fake eggs on his property and is happy to hear the snake survived.

At the Ramona Wildlife Center, Project Wildlife's veterinary team sedated the snake and slowly moved the egg towards the head so the snake could regurgitate it. They provided stitches in areas where the egg had lacerated the snake's skin. Once awake, the snake was able to successfully push the egg back out through its mouth.

The snake needed about a month to recover from the wounds. Project Wildlife staff removed the sutures July 14 and continued to monitor the snake to ensure they were eating well. "Every wild creature plays an important role in our ecosystem and that's why we work so hard to save them," said Andy Blue, campus director of San Diego Humane Society's Ramona Wildlife Center. "For us humans, we want Gopher snakes around because they naturally help us control the rodent population."

San Diego Humane Society's Project Wildlife program is the primary resource for wild animal rehabilitation and conservation education in San Diego County. Each year, SDHS gives nearly 13,000 injured, orphaned and sick wild animals a second chance. At the Ramona Campus, SDHS specializes in caring for native apex predators and birds of prey, including hawks, owls, eagles, coyotes, bears, bobcats and, under special pilot authorization, mountain lions.

Video and photos of the Gopher snake's release and rehabilitation for media use can be downloaded here:

Submitted by the San Diego Humane Society.


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