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Snake found slithering through shelves at Apex Target store

A black rat snake made its way on to the shelves at the Target in Beaver Creek Commons, and it didn't go unnoticed.

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Kirsten Gutiérrez
, WRAL reporter
APEX, N.C. — A woman stumbled upon a snake while shopping for baked beans at a Target store in Apex Monday.

A black rat snake made its way on to the shelves at the Target in Beaver Creek Commons, and it didn't go unnoticed.

Experts tell us they are harmless, but it is still shocking.

WRAL talked to a Target team member who believes the snake found its way inside on a cart or by other means of transportation.

“I thought it was a child’s toy, so I thought, 'oh my goodness someone is pranking me, where’s the camera this is a joke,' because it was totally still," said Diane Dupre, who discovered the snake.

Thinking the snake was fake, Dupre grabbed some beans while grocery shopping.

“As I zoomed in, I was going to take a photo, the tongue came out and that’s how I knew this is a real snake,” she said.

Alone in the canned goods section with a very long snake, she called for help.

“I looked up and down the aisle and I was calmly freaking out," she explained. "See, he’s slithering, oh my gosh I can’t even look at this. I’m telling the men to hurry.”

Target team members got the snake out safely and released it back into the wild.

Dupre and her husband are from upstate New York and aren’t used to seeing snakes this size.

“I was like, 'oh my goodness this is for real, this is N.C. and this is snake season and there is a snake on top of the baked beans here,'"she said.

There are six types of venomous snakes in our state, but N.C. State Professor Gregory Lewbart said black rat snakes are harmless. He said he's not surprised this one ended up in a Target, saying they find these snakes in the vet school all the time.

“These snakes are out of hibernation they’re moving around they’re looking for food, they might be looking for mates,” Lewbart said.

He also tells us it’s possible the snake hibernated inside the store throughout the winter. Despite how the snake found itself on top of the beans, Dupre tells WRAL it's a trip she'll never forget.

“Pretty exciting and a story I’ll be telling for years.”   

A Target spokesperson tells us crews immediately disinfected the area where the snake was found. They also plan to bring in a pest control company to do a thorough sweep of the store.

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