Grate escape: Texas girl, 12, pulled from drainage pipe after snakes block path

SOUTHLAKE, Texas — A 12-year-old Texas girl is safe after wriggling into a drainage pipe and coming face to face with a snake when she tried to double back.

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In a Facebook post, the Southlake Department of Public Safety said that on Jan. 20, two sisters were spending the last days of a two-week quarantine playing outside.

One of the girls, identified only as 12-year-old Tori, decided to crawl into a drainage pipe, WFAA-TV reported.

“We’ve got some good old-fashioned amazing preteens here, thrilled to explore the outdoors and see nature instead of TikToking or vegging on the couch watching ‘MrBeast’ on YouTube,” the Facebook post stated.

The adventurous preteen’s problem came after she crawled through the tight tunnel and turned around to leave. That is when she encountered a large black snake, KTVT-TV reported.

“At first I was wondering if it was like a pipe in there but then I saw scales and was terrified,” Tori told the television station.

“I found out later her sister told her it’s probably a water moccasin. I don’t think that helped,” Nikki, the girls’ mother, told WFAA.

The Facebook post describes the encounter with relish but adds a caveat for animal lovers.

“Before all of you snake people jump in and say we’re vilifying snakes, we are not,” the post stated. “We are telling this from the perspective of a 12-year old young lady who didn’t have her snake identifier page on Facebook handy and was crammed in a tight space, so calm down. We know now they were rat snakes, but imagine for a second poor Tori feeling like she was in the snake pit of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ the first movie of the Indiana Jones trilogy. Yeah, we said it. Crystal Skull doesn’t count.”

The Texas Rat Snake is the most commonly encountered snake in the state and is harmless, WFAA reported. They are nonvenomous and do not attack people, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

According to the Facebook post, Tori wriggled past a storm grate and tried to escape through another drainage pipe. That is when she encountered another black snake.

Tori’s sister, Carly, was going to help -- until she saw the second snake.

Carly ran to tell their mother, who tried to remove the storm grate but could not lift the heavy metal object. They called police in Southlake, who quickly removed the grate, WFAA reported.

“I was mostly excited to make fun of her,” Carly told the television station. “I call her the ‘snake grate girl.’”

The girls’ mother took photos of the event and shared them with the Southlake Department of Public Safety, which posted them on Facebook and Twitter.

“I kept them out of (the storm drain) for 10 years. I’ll call that a parenting win,” Nikki told WFAA.

“Isn’t it nice to live in a city so safe that this is the big event of the week?” the Facebook post asked.