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Miss. courthouse invaded by snakes

JACKSON, Miss. - Non-venomous snakes are slithering into a Mississippi courthouse this spring, posing no threat but giving workers the creeps.

Five of the brown DeKay's snakes - sometimes called earth snakes - have been found in the Hinds County circuit clerk's basement office since April 8.

A deputy clerk, Kelly Phillips, said Thursday that the largest was a big around as her finger and a few inches long. She didn't stop to measure it. She said the smallest looked like an overgrown earthworm.

Former zookeeper Percy King, who does reptile shows at local schools, went to the courthouse to identify the serpents. He said DeKay's snakes, which eat lizards, worms, crickets and other small bugs, have soft teeth that probably couldn't even break a human's skin.

It's not unusual for DeKay's snakes to sneak into buildings during the springtime as they wake up from hibernation, he said: "A snake that size could squeeze through any little hole."

One of the snakes was accidentally killed by a file cabinet that rolls on tracks. Another was caught on a sticky trap left by maintenance workers.


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