Snake on a train: The payback
Penelope the snake rode among the strap-hangers on Boston's T Red Line for a month.
February 24th, 2011
07:26 AM ET

Snake on a train: The payback

When Melissa Moorhouse got on a Red Line subway train in Boston on January 7, her pet snake, Penelope, was coiled cozily under her scarf.

When Moorhouse got off the train, Penelope, a Dumeril's boa, stayed behind, hiding somewhere in the car, CNN affiliate WCVB-TV reported.

A month passed before another passenger reported seeing a snake on the "T," as the Metropolitan Boston Transit Authority system is called. After another search, Penelope was found, safe and sound, and returned to Moorhouse.

But that's not all the T folks had for Moorhouse. This week she received a $650 bill, she told the station.

"To rid the subway car of any traces of germs such as salmonella, which may have been left by your snake, MBTA maintenance crews had to scrub and disinfect the Red Line car in which your snake was found," MBTA Treasurer-Controller Wesley Wallace wrote to Moorhouse.

Moorhouse didn't think she deserved the bill.

"I understand sanitizing the train, but shouldn't that be done anyway?" she told WCVB. "A lot of different people with a lot of different sicknesses are on that train. People throw up on the train, people bleed on the train. Do they have to pay to get it cleaned?"

The MBTA told Moorhouse she should use a pet carrier if she carries the snake on a train again.

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Filed under: Animals • Massachusetts • Snakes • U.S.
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Tyler

    "The MBTA told Moorhouse she should use a pet carrier if she carries the snake on a train again."

    Nice comeback. They know she's correct about having the train regularly sanitized.

    February 24, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. raven

    Thars a snake in mah boot !!!

    February 24, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Poor Snake

    II feel terrible for the poor snake; its owner did not even notice it was missing? I cannot believe she did not go looking for the poor thing; she should not have the right to have the snake as a pet because she is stupid.

    I do not agree that she should pay for cleaning but believe she should be charged for animal cruelty! or as the other posters have stated as a "stupidity charge" or "for all the free rides the snake got for an entire week" or f"or room and board" however, what was it eating... perhaps all the rats in the subway???

    Maybe we should consider wearing hazmat suits on the train since they do not clean them.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |

    hiss... stop hissing in my ear.. silly serpant!

    February 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RuffNutt (the fake one)

    Hey RuffNutt, Quit posting under my name ! Ruff! Ruff! ....

    February 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Field reporter / correspondent (the real one)

    News This just in ; banasy will be appearing at a Circus Side Show all across the country this spring Check your area for local listings..... Barnum & Bailys Ringling Bros. Circus & Circus Side-Freak Show.....

    February 24, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RoughBawls

    I kind of agree that those trains should be washed daily with some sort of industrial strength cleaner. If they are not cleaned daily with such cleaner then the city should be the ones fined. A boa is a pretty heavy snake, even a young one. If this lady didn't notice it crawling off her body then she is an idiot. Maybe the fine is for her stupidity.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Field reporter / correspondent (the real one

    News This just in ; banasy and I will be married by then and spend our honeymoon appearing at a Circus Side Show all across the country this spring Check your area for local listings….. Barnum & Bailys Ringling Bros. Circus & Circus Side-Freak Show….

    February 24, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Field reporter/correspondent (im really the real one)

    Wow it appears I too have a double (twin) out there .. Now we both can give breaking news storys of the day !! Hello out there field reporter – fake one .. Well lets give them hell ! were a team now so lets let her RIP !!! This just in ; now there are two of us and there could even be more ? ......

    February 24, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ed bailey

    Hey, wasn't there a cult member running that dtate! Yhe champions of unreasonable fines and professional crushers of civil rights. A ridiculous fine for being a stupid snake owner.did Boston lose its public streets for private ceremonies while hail to the prophet was there?

    February 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 1608

    Ma. loves to take my money.

    They will take hers.

    February 24, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. skunnkie

    No animal should be on public transporation. Not put it as a "cleaning fee" it should be a animal endangered fee. But pay the fee and get a carrier!

    February 24, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jam

    What a scam.

    February 24, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
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