Alice the albino python (search) had a little too much to eat for dinner.
Just hours before its owner, rocker Alice Cooper (search), was to take the stage at the careerbuilder.com Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, the 8-foot-long snake ate a live rat and then mistakenly swallowed a 12-by-14 inch heating pad, wires and all, left in its cage by mistake.
Before Saturday night's show, Cooper's roadies saw the snake's unusually large bulge and called at-risk snake helper Alison Sloan, who directed Alice to Higganum veterinarian Richard Jacobs.
Jacobs performed emergency surgery on the python for two hours this week, carefully slicing it open and removing the heating pad.
"It was absolutely an emergency," Sloan told The Hartford Courant on Thursday, noting the wires could have ruptured Alice's intestines or other organs with fatal results. "She's a very lucky snake."
Sloan, director and owner of Ashleigh's Rain Forest in Essex, allowed Cooper to borrow a yellow anaconda for Saturday's show to replace the python, which undulates onstage with Cooper during his performances.
Alice the snake was resting comfortably at Jacob's office on Thursday.
The operation involved sedating the snake and inserting a tube to help it breathe during surgery. Jacobs said he cut a 5-inch-long incision along a row of scales and maneuvered the heating pad out.
"That's an outrageous X-ray," Jacobs said Thursday, looking at the pre-op picture of the snake that showed the wires and contacts from the heating pad -- plus a rodent. "It's probably the most astonishing X-ray I've taken in my career."
Cooper was unavailable for comment. Sloan said the rocker thanked her for her help and paid $1,000 for the surgery. He is also allowing Alice to semi-retire to Sloan's rescue and rehab.
"Alice Cooper stepped up to pay the vet bill and let Alice live in our rain forest," Sloan said.
Sloan said Cooper might call on Alice to make stage appearances during future performances in the Northeast.