Wagner removes ceramic egg

X-ray showing ceramic egg inside snake

X-ray showing ceramic egg inside snake

Recently, Dr. Wagner was in the news for removing a ceramic egg from a 5 foot long black rat snake.

Al Filat of Seward, PA uses ceramic eggs to encourage his chickens to lay eggs. On July 22, 2014, he noticed an egg missing and on August 6, 2014, he spotted a 5-foot rat snake with a bulge. Putting the events together. he talked to his neighbor, Alan Hollingsworth, who volunteers for the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission surveying timber rattlesnakes.

Mr. Hollingsworth brought the snake to the Animal Rescue League Shelter and Wildlife Center in Verona on August 11, 2014 and Jill Argall (director of the center) determined this situation was a little beyond what they could do there. That’s when Dr. Wagner was called.

On Tuesday, August 12, Dr. Wagner removed the ceramic egg from the snake, who by Thursday was reported to be “resting comfortably” back at the Wildlife Center. Ms. Argall said the snake would be released to the wild after a course of antibiotics.

Wagner was quoted as saying the egg was “overwhelmingly large considering the size of the snake.” He also said, “They’ll eat anything — blankets, light bulbs.” Apparently the ceramic egg wasn’t the most unusual foreign body Wagner has removed from a snake, but it was his first fake egg. He recently removed a set of 18-inch forceps from a boa.

“They used the forceps to hold the rat (its meal), and it took the whole thing,” said Wagner, who has worked at the Pittsburgh Zoo, the National Aviary and several wildlife conservation organizations.

[This article was condensed from a Tribune-Review online article (found here). Photos attributed to the Tribune-Review and Bree Bigelow (a wildlife rehabilitator for the center).

Five foot rat snake with ceramic egg inside. [Photo: Bree Bigalow]

Five foot rat snake with ceramic egg inside. [Photo: Bree Bigalow]

Snake ready for surgery

Snake ready for surgery


Egg showing inside snake

Egg showing inside snake

Egg removed successfully

Egg removed successfully


[Photo: Tribune-Review]

Jill Argall, Director of ARL Wildlife Center in Verona [Photo: Tribune-Review]

Jill Argall holds down rat snake [Photo: Tribune-Review]

Jill Argall holds down rat snake [Photo: Tribune-Review]


X-ray showing ceramic egg inside snake

X-ray showing ceramic egg inside snake

Jill Argall holds down rat snake

Jill Argall with rat snake

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