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WAKE FOREST — A Wake Forest family of four got a smelly, scaly surprise Dec. 30 as they were getting ready to enjoy a frozen pizza.
Robert Helm, a married father of two, preheated his house’s gas oven, then popped the pizza in before eventually noticing smoke and a strange smell.
“The oven started smoking and I told my boys ‘back up’ so I can make sure a fire or anything didn’t happen,” his wife, Amber Helm, told CNN. “I looked closely and was like ‘Oh my God! That’s a friggin’ snake.’”
She guessed the snake, likely a nonvenomous black snake based on its head and teeth, died from the oven preheating and may have gotten into the house through the lodging’s crawl space and into the oven through a bottom hole used for airflow.
The Helms have two small children. Their 3-year-old shared their shock while the 1-year-old was left unsure of what had happened.
“I immediately got them out of the house and took them to Applebee’s while my husband stayed home and got rid of the snake and a started to air out the house and clean the oven,” Amber told CNN.
After the incident, local and national media outlets, including CNN, reached out to the family for interviews. The story has appeared in People magazine and USA Today.
In an interview this week with the Wake Weekly, Amber said that she was surprised by how the story went viral.
“I had put those photos of the snake in the oven on social media and submitted to places like WRAL,” she said. “I was a bit skeptical at first when they wanted to interview us because I didn’t want to come across or feel stupid for something like this happening.”
Amber said if there’s one thing she takes solace in, its that she doesn’t believe the snake laid eggs under or around the house because it’s hibernation season.