The first case, a couple of weeks ago, happened when a woman was cycling on her hometrainer while watching TV. "I thought it was a lizard at first, but it turned out to be a snake." She called a vet, who concluded from her description that it must be a corn snake, a type of rat snake usually found in the south-east of the U.S.
The woman didn't want the snake to escape and got it trapped using the TV's digital box 'digicorder'. People from the Natural Centre in Opglabbeek came to the spot to take the snake.
Two cases in just a couple of weeks: is this exceptional? Not really, experts say. "Snake enthusiasts buy them - corn snakes are cheap - get tired of them and dump them. Or the animals escape. We get a couple of calls each month about snakes roaming about freely", the Natuurhulpcentrum explains. By the way, corn snakes are not poisonous. They subdue their small prey by constriction.