VENICE (FOX 13) - Experienced gardeners will say most snakes should not be feared because they eat mice and are not venomous. Experienced drivers, however, will tell you a snake in your car is not a great sign.
That's what Monica Dorsett found out when what appears to be a red rat snake slithered from the vent in her car as she drove through down a Venice roadway.
Dorsett said she was driving when she spotted the snake curling out of the vent right by her hand, next to the driver's-side window. She wanted to stop and get out, but realized she was in the middle of traffic.
"I looked and I didn't see anybody in [the passenger side] mirror so I did a right turn over two lanes into a parking lot, slammed it in reverse, undid my belt and rolled out of the car as fast as I could," Dorsett said as she reenacted the events.
She called her husband in a panic, and that's when the snake slithered up around the windshield.
Dorsett managed to snap a few photos of the snake after she says she accidentally recorded herself screaming. Her daughter posted the photos on social media with the caption, "My mom almost crashed her car today cause a snake started coming out of her vents while she was driving."
One of the photos shows the snake with half of its body coming from the air vent and the other half slithering out of the open car door. The second photo shows the snake curled around the outside of the cracked car door.
She thought the snake was going to leave, and she felt brief relief, but it was short-lived. The snake started moving back into the car.
That's when Dorsett -- a self-described animal lover with three cats and a dog of her own -- panicked.
As she described the ordeal, she was laughing and jovial, until she described what happened next. She said she slammed the door with the snake halfway inside the car, and halfway out.
Her husband showed up soon after and opened the door, letting the snake fall to the ground.
She said the snake appeared to still be alive, but was obviously injured. Dorsett said her husband "euthanized" the snake.
"I'm an animal lover and I would have never killed it on purpose," Dorsett added.
She believes the snake made easy entry to the ventilation system of her car from underneath the hood. According to FWC and the Tallahassee Museum, red rat snakes are the best climbing species of snake in Florida, which makes sense to Dorsett based on this experience.