The milksnake showed up in their shopping cart at the Pittsford Wegmans
PITTSFORD — A Pittsford mother and daughter this week ended up on a scramble to secure a slithery supermarket stowaway, a snake they spotted in their shopping cart.
"'Why is there a snake in the building?'" Laura Walitsky recalled when she spied the serpent coiled in the bottom rack of her cart at the Wegmans supermarket on Monroe Avenue on Monday. "'And what do I do with the snake now?' I couldn't keep shopping with the snake in the cart."
Walitsky's daughter Ally Rose Caruso added, "Weird but cool, kind of. If it had been a spider, I would've reacted differently. But I don't really care about snakes."
While currently partial to warm-blooded pets, like her dog and cat, Walitsky held no prejudice against reptiles, having once owned a turtle and an iguana. Snakes, she said, were common around her onetime home in Marion.
In Wegmans, she did a quick Google search on her phone and concluded the reptile wasn't venomous.
Judging from pictures Walitsky took, John Adamski, assistant curator at the Seneca Park Zoo declared the creature a milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum Triangulum), "a harmless constrictor that mainly feeds on small mammals and occasionally other snakes."
Harmless or not, Walitsky feared panic among fellow shoppers and quickly headed toward the exit as discretely as possible, pushing a cart loaded with not-yet-paid-for groceries.
"It was a little bit of a bottleneck," she said. "And I am trying to look up, to not bring attention to the fact that there is a snake at the bottom of the cart."
Walitsky also admitted she was worried for her passenger.
"I just didn't want it to get hurt. It wasn't bothering anybody," she said. "And I was like 'this isn't the best place for it because if it comes out it's going to get smushed in the parking lot.'"
Eventually, a Wegmans Helping Hands employee moved Walitsky's groceries to another cart, then left her original cart, and the snake, at an edge of the Monroe Avenue parking lot that abutted a wooded area so the reptile could leave on its own.
In an email, a Wegmans representative described the episode as "an isolated incident" and hypothesized the snake may have ridden into the store on the cart from when the cart was outside.
For her part, Ally Rose snapped into action.
"Put it on Snapchat!" she exclaimed. "And a bunch of people commented on my story wondering what happened."
Her mom touched off a social media sensation too when she posted about the event, with photos of the snake, on Facebook.
As for the source of the serpent, Walitsky chuckled over an exchange shortly after the adventure.
"One woman was looking at it and she was like 'where do you think it's from?'" she recalled. "I didn't have an answer and the guy from Wegmans goes, 'well, we get most of our produce locally.'"
Walitsky laughed, "So if it came in one of the boxes of plums or something, at least it was somewhat local. And we made it outside and the snake is, hopefully, living a happy life, behind Wegmans now."