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A file photo of a reticulated python. (

BALLWIN • Nobody quite knows how the python ended up in the pantry. 

But a St. Louis County woman got a rude awakening last week when she returned from vacation and discovered an 18-inch snake curled up in the corner of her kitchen cabinet.

The woman first reported her snake discovery about 11 a.m. June 2 at the Kensington West apartments in the 200 block of Sweetcreek Lane in Ballwin.

"She was definitely not one who likes snakes I can say that," said Ballwin police officer Scott Stephens. "But I guess who would want a snake in their kitchen?" 

Officers arrived and were soon able to wriggle the reptile into a pillow case, Stephens said. St. Louis animal control officers came to the apartment, identified the snake as a python and took it away. 

But the mystery of the pantry snake remains. 

"We really don't know how it got there," Stephens said. "But we think it was probably someone's pet."

The officers knocked on doors in the complex asking if anyone had lost a python, but no one reported a missing snake.

"We were definitely happy to be able to get rid of it safely and quickly," Stephens said. "Police officers end up doing these weird animal calls more than you would think."

Erin Heffernan is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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