AUGUSTA CO., Va. (WHSV) — A farmer in Augusta County recently discovered where his ceramic eggs went after they went missing from his chicken coop.
The ceramic eggs were found inside of an adult Eastern Ratsnake on June 7.
According to the Wildlife Center of Virginia, a farmer noticed that two of his "dummy" ceramic eggs that are commonly used to encourage chickens to lay eggs in specific nest boxes were missing.
The farmer then found an adult Eastern Ratsnake inside the coop. He suspected that the snake had eaten the artificial eggs by mistake, so he brought the snake to the Wildlife Center of Virginia, in Waynesboro, the next day.
Staff at the center conducted radiographs and the radiographs showed two hollow objects inside the snake that were likely the ceramic eggs. The veterinary staff said the objects would need to be removed surgically by cutting open the intestinal tract.
On June 11, a veterinary team performed the surgery and successfully removed the eggs lodged inside the snake's intestinal tract. The center says the surgery lasted for two hours and the snake recovered well from sedation. The center also says that this is the first time the veterinary staff had performed that type of surgery.
It's particularly challenging due to snakes' long intestinal tracts. In addition, vets had to take special care not to break the eggs, which are often coated in paint that could be harmful to the snake.
Then, another challenge came -- the snake began to shed its skin the day after surgery, which could have led to problems around the incision site. But staff monitored it closely and there were no problems.
A month of recovery later later, the snake is doing well, according to the center. The veterinary staff is continuing to monitor the snake's incision site and its overall health.