Hissing hitchhiker: Snake discovered on Kaslo-based company’s bus

That’s no rubber snake. This one was found on a bus in Kaslo by Mountain Man Mike’s owner Michael Hathaway. Photo SubmittedThat’s no rubber snake. This one was found on a bus in Kaslo by Mountain Man Mike’s owner Michael Hathaway. Photo Submitted
This corn snake is recovering after it travelled undetected on a bus throughout B.C. and Alberta. Photo: SubmittedThis corn snake is recovering after it travelled undetected on a bus throughout B.C. and Alberta. Photo: Submitted
Michael Hathaway’s wife Laurian McKellar holds the snake, which has a tank and supplies donated by community members in Kaslo. Photo: SubmittedMichael Hathaway’s wife Laurian McKellar holds the snake, which has a tank and supplies donated by community members in Kaslo. Photo: Submitted
Michael Hathaway’s children check out their new guest. Hathaway says the family will keep the snake if the owner can’t be found. Photo: SubmittedMichael Hathaway’s children check out their new guest. Hathaway says the family will keep the snake if the owner can’t be found. Photo: Submitted

Michael Hathaway thought someone was playing a prank on him.

Hathaway, the owner of Kaslo-based Mountain Man Mike’s bus service, was doing an inspection on a vehicle Friday when he spotted what he thought was a rubber snake sticking out of a heater vent.

“I figured that somebody had just jokingly added this snake to try to scare us,” he said.

Hathaway continued on with his work, but when he doubled back, he realized the rubber snake was moving.

Hathaway is not a snake expert — the last time he said he’d been near a snake was in elementary school — but he knew the snake was not in good condition in the hot vehicle. Unsure if the snake was venomous or not, Hathaway grabbed a cardboard box, picked up the snake with his hands and took it home.

“When you own a company, sometimes you just have to buck up and do it yourself,” he said.

It’s not clear where the snake came from. Hathaway said the vehicle had just finished six straight days of service that took two round trip from Kaslo to Vancouver and another to Calgary.

Hathaway says he’s still working on finding the owner and also plans to take the snake to a vet for a medical check.

In Kaslo, however, the snake has found an unexpected home.

Hathaway’s wife Laurian, he said, was initially scared of the snake but has already begun bonding with it. His two children meanwhile have already named it Cream Corn.

Community members also identified it as a corn snake, which are docile and often used as pets, and chipped in for the new arrival. If they can’t find the owner, Hathaway said his family will adopt it.

“We put out a call to the community and we had people come through with tanks, heat rocks, heat lamps, basically all the snake supplies we needed to keep the snake temporarily,” said Hathaway. “He’s in a tank now and seems to be happy.”

Mountain Man Mike’s has been in operation since May 2019, but this is the first time Hathaway has had a snake as a passenger. He said it’s unlikely to happen again, but just to be safe his staff will increase spot checks on baggage.

“I think the only danger in this situation is that somebody would hurt the snake by reacting to it the wrong way.”

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

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