When Jay Taylor's pet snake Scarlett disappeared from his Edmonton apartment four months ago, he assumed she was gone for good.
Instead, the California kingsnake emerged from hiding last week — slithering through the vents and sliding into the bathroom of a neighbouring apartment — much to the horror of the unsuspecting woman living there.
"Apparently she heard her dogs freaking out in the bathroom," Taylor said.
"Her Pomeranian was in there losing its mind. She walked in there, and there was the snake knocking over shampoo bottles.
"I would say she was a little distraught."
Taylor said the snake went missing shortly after Halloween. He came home to his apartment in the Greyson Heights complex in the Queen Mary Park neighbourhood, to find the snake tank empty.
He ripped his apartment apart, rummaging through the couch cushions and laundry hampers but found no trace of his scaly friend.
I was almost certain she went down the toilet. -Jay Taylor
"I was almost certain she went down the toilet because she was shedding," Taylor said. "They like to be around wet environments when they're shedding."
Taylor, 24, has had the snake in his family for years and had recently moved it from his mother's place to his apartment.
He continued searching, but assumed the worst.
Then, last week, Taylor got the call.
Taylor, a drywaller, had since moved out of the apartment to a new place on Whyte Avenue, but his old building manager still had his number on file and remembered Taylor as a bit of an eccentric.
When a snake was found hissing in a bathtub, assumptions were made.
"The building manager called me at two in the morning asking, 'Is this your snake?', like Jay would be the only guy who would have this as a pet."
The snake was found in the unit below his former suite. Taylor assumes Scarlett must have spent the last four months in hibernation mode, hidden in the walls.
"She's about four feet now. She's grown a bit since I seen her last. They grow to their environment."
An after-hours animal control officer picked up the snake and Jay went to get her the following morning.
It was a sweet reunion, one city officials held up as proof that many pets, even snakes, have loving owners hoping for their safe return home.
"I was pretty stoked," Taylor said. "She was pretty hungry when she came out. I fed her some mice and she's doing well."