Stowaway snake

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March 25, 2008

McLEAN, Va. (AP) -- Maybe he heard a faint rattling around in his luggage, but he surely never assumed the sound came from a poisonous snake sealed in his bag and waiting to strike.

But that's what happened to a Virginia man bitten by what authorities believe was a young canebrake rattlesnake.

High school rowing coach Andy Bacas reached into his luggage Monday after returning from a team trip to South Carolina when he felt a sharp pain. That's when he saw the nearly foot-long snake and slammed the luggage shut with the snake inside.

Firefighters killed it with a blast from a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher. Bacas went to the hospital for treatment.

Local authorities say there's no evidence the snake was deliberately put into the bag.

A snake expert says it's conceivable a snake would crawl into luggage seeking warmth or shelter, but his first instinct is to suspect some sort of prank.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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