PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A large snake that made its home inside a traffic signal breaker box in Virginia was removed after it flipped a switch that controls the light.
According to the Prince William County Police Department, the breaker box powered a traffic signal at the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Sudley Manor Drive. When the snake flipped the breaker switch, the signal was shut off.
Because of molted skin and waste found inside, it is believed that the snake had been living in the box for some time, police said.
The snake did not damage anything inside the box.
Since snakes gain body heat from their environment, it’s not unusual to find them hiding in places to keep warm.
A crash investigator and animal control officer removed the snake unharmed and released it in the area. Authorities did not specify the type of snake.
According to the Wildlife Center of Virginia, the state has 30 native snake species, most of which are harmless. Three of them — the Northern Copperheads, Timber Rattlesnakes and Cottonmouths — are venomous.
The center also states that it is illegal to kill a snake in Virginia.
The crash investigation team reminded drivers to treat a non-functioning traffic signal as a four-way stop and to be careful at the intersection.
“When traffic signals are not working because of a power outage or other problem (snake perhaps) and not displaying any lights, treat the traffic light as a stop sign and use extreme caution before proceeding,” said Crash Investigator Lewton, identified in a Facebook post by last name only.