Snake prompts post office closure

Trapper to take snake to unpopulated area

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - One would expect to see boxes and stamps, flat-rate boxes and letters at a neighborhood post office, but a 3-foot-long slithering snake? That's a whole other kind of special delivery.

Employees discovered a snake at a Miami Beach post office Thursday.

"What happened was, a snake decided to protrude outside the light fixture on top of the ceiling over where the window personnel work," said post office Manager Manuel Ferrer.

Ferrer said he and employees at the office on West Avenue spotted the reptile warming itself in a light fixture.

"We didn't know if it was going to come down. We didn't know if it was going to bite somebody," Ferrer said.

After customers had left and the post office closed, he tried to grab the snake from inside the ceiling, where it slid.

"Unfortunately, we couldn't catch him," he said.

So, on Friday, Ferrer called Trapper John Animal Specialists, who sent expert snake trapper Mike Samsal.

Samsal poked around the ceiling tiles and quickly found the reptile inside. In one fell swoop, he grabbed it with his gloved hands and stuffed it inside a bucket.

According to Samsal, the snake is a black racer, which is common to South Florida and the southeastern portion of the United States. Black racer snakes are nonvenomous, but are known to strike their prey.

Samsal said he understood the fear post office employees had about having a snake dangling above them.

"It could have been any kind of snake. It could have dropped down the ceiling. It could have came down startled somebody," Samsal said.

Experts like Samsal said the snake could have entered the building by slipping inside vents, cracks in walls or any kind of opening.

"Any little hole," he said.

Samsal has been trapping snakes for years, but said snagging one at a neighborhood post office is a first.

"This is a first one -- for sure," he laughed.

The snake, which thrives on dry land, will be relocated to an unpopulated area. 

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