Dear Tom and Ray:
My mechanic found a 4-foot-long boa constrictor in my manifold, in Boonton, N.J. It cost me $310 to get it out. It was barbecued, of course. How the heck did it get in there? — Al
Ray: Wow. I’m guessing you discovered it because it was affecting your car’s performance. This boa was “constricting” your exhaust and cutting down on your car’s power. You probably took in the car and innocently asked your mechanic to see what he could find.
Tom: And I just want to give thanks that I wasn’t the guy who found the snake. I definitely would have hit my head on the underside of the hood as I went screaming and running out of the shop.
Ray: There’s only one realistic way the snake could’ve gotten into the exhaust manifold, Al — by going up the exhaust pipe.
Tom: It’s not easy. There are a lot of baffles and obstructions in the muffler and elsewhere. And there’s a honeycomb in the catalytic converter that would have to be broken or crumbling to allow him to get past it. But if anything could work its way up the exhaust pipe, it would be a snake.
Ray: The only other way is through the intake, but that would require the snake to somehow get into and out of one of the cylinders through the valves, and that’s highly unlikely — even for a talented snake.
Tom: I’m guessing this was a pet that either escaped or some idiot decided he didn’t want anymore. It’s a shame for everybody. Especially that poor mechanic and the snake.