A wild Florida snake became part of a gory Halloween scene Saturday when it found itself tangled in a decorative spider web.
A Miami Shores resident discovered the Florida black racer snake wrapped up in a fake spiderweb and called wildlife experts in to help, according to the Pelican Harbor Seabird Station (PHSS), which came to the rescue.
PHSS brought the rescued snake to its facilities and started setting the snake free. In the process, they found another small lizard also tangled up in the web and half-eaten by the black racer snake.
The rescuers believe that the snake saw the lizard as a Halloween treat but got caught in the web along with it. PHSS spokesperson Hannah McDougall said in an emailed statement to USA TODAY Tuesday that staff members were not sure if the lizard had died before or after being nearly swallowed whole by the snake.
Rescuers cleared away the tangled, cotton decoration and kept the snake overnight for observation before releasing it the next day.
Black racer snakes are native to Florida, pose no harm to humans, and hunt lizards, frogs, rodents and birds, according to the National Park Service. The species gets its name from their speed, and they can grow up to 60 inches long.
A 'common' incident this time of year
Officials with PHSS reminded people of the potential dangers of outdoor decorations on wildlife.
“This type of entanglement injury is common this time of year with people decorating their landscaping for Halloween. We’ve seen the same injury before with a small warbler”, said Yaritza Acosta, a wildlife rehabilitation manager, according to the press release by PHSS.
"While festive and seemingly innocuous, decorations like fake spiderwebs can unintentionally threaten local wildlife. In this case, the snake was fortunate to be discovered and saved by concerned citizens.” said McDougall.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Florida black racer snake rescued from Halloween decoration spider web