Be careful when renting an apartment in Bell Gardens, as there may be a random snake in a wall heater that the previous occupant just left there. A sleeping 15-year-old boy was awakened when a snake poked its head from a wall heater and bit him Monday night.

“I was sleeping and all of a sudden I felt something on my hand and it bit me,” Arturo Lopez, told City News Service. Here's the better quote: “It happened last night too.”

“The same thing happened last night,” said Arturo's brother, Alejandro Orendaine, 14, who sleeps in the same room. “This time it bit him harder.”

It happened last night too? Perhaps a call to animal control was in order the first time.

The family has been living there for two months. An animal control officer said the previous occupants who lived there had a pet snake. It got loose, and the snake apparently had been living in the wall and inside the heater since then. Meaning it hadn't eaten (unless it found a rodent) in two months.

This is pretty much an absolute nightmare for anyone with an inkling of ophidiophobia, or a fear of snakes, and if these kids didn't have it before, they do now.

The New Yorker published a good piece (subscription required) last year on people's propensity (especially in Florida, of course) to obtain exotic pets that they then can't care for and just dump into the swamp or wherever. In this case, a wall heater.

-With reporting from City News Service. Got news? Email us.

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