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.