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5-foot-long rat snake found in Texas jail

An unwelcome visitor at a North Texas jail has been freed by a reptile-friendly deputy.

Cpl. Mike McNicholas of the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office helped remove the 5-foot-long rat snake from some overhead pipe space.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Monday that an inmate at the county's Greenbay jail facility had spotted the snake above his cell.

McNicholas blamed the nonvenomous snake for the inside job, saying the creature probably got into the jail through exhaust fans or air conditioning ducts. He thinks the snake couldn't get back out and would have starved if not helped.

McNicholas carried the snake to a vacant lot near the jail and freed the critter near a creek.