Snakes at NEW Zoo vending machines cause a scare

Soda and water vending machines at N.E.W. Zoo in Suamico
Soda and water vending machines at N.E.W. Zoo in Suamico
Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 5:45 PM CDT
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SUAMICO, Wis. (WBAY) - A wild, roaming snake caused quite a stir over the weekend at the NEW Zoo in Suamico. It’s just another example of the power of social media.

Zoo officials say visitors can “scale” back any concerns.

It was by the soda and water vending machines that brief panic broke out.

“On Saturday we had some zoo guests see some snakes, some wild snakes here by the vending machines -- which, it’s not uncommon to have wild snakes on the property,” NEW Zoo education coordinator Angela Kawski described. “Tried to contact a staff person who came and took pictures and was going to open up the machines and get them out, saw one either slither in or slither out.”

Kawski says the snake was either a Hognose or a Fox snake, based on a photo taken by a guest.

“All of the snakes that we have that are native to the area are totally harmless,” Kawsi said. “And I can also say I have personally opened up all the machines. There is no sign of any sort of permanent settlement of snakes in the area, and it’s also physically impossible for a snake to go under the machine and come up here in the area where people reach their hands -- there’s 100% no connection, no way for that to happen, because the refrigerated compartment is totally sealed so that it maintains its refrigeration.”

So, no snakes sneaking in the back and slithering out the front when you reach in for your soda bottle.

Despite no cause for concern about the wild snake, a Facebook post spread like wildfire with hundreds of comments and shares about a pregnant mama snake living in the machine.

“This post was shared on a mommy group, a local Facebook group, so all the moms in the area see those things, and it’s kind of crazy how fast those things can snowball and get out of hand,” Kawski said.

Kawski added that it’s nearly impossible to determine the sex of a snake without a close examination.

As for the snake’s true intent that day, Kawski says it’s highly unlikely it was looking for a home.

“I actually think a snake would be more likely to be passing through looking for rodents,” she said. “So there’s a chance that a snake just smelled something tasty to eat and was looking for a lunch, basically.”

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