Email with attached photographs claims that a technician found a snake inside a computer after the user reported hearing hissing noises and a bad smell.
The photographs are genuine and they do indeed show a dead snake found inside a computer. However, the description has been somewhat embellished. See detailed analysis for more information.
Subject: Fwd: computer problemsTECH SUPPORT
‘Hello, technical support, how can I help you?’LADY: ‘Last night my computer started making a lot of hissing noise at me so I shut it down. This morning when I turned it on the computer started hissing and cracking, then started smoking and a bad smell, then nothing.’
SUPPORT: ‘I will have a technician come over first thing this morning, just leave the computer just like it is, so they can find the problem and fix it, or change it out with another computer. Give me your address; phone number and the technician will be there just as soon as they can’
When the technician got there, the lady showed the technician where the computer was, told him what happened to it and this is what the technician found wrong. Take a look at the pictures…! And you thought you had computer problems!
This email forward tells the tale of a woman who called technical support after her computer started producing strange hissing noises, a bad smell, and smoke before it stopped working completely. According to the message, when the technician arrived to diagnose the problem, he found a recently deceased snake inside the computer tower. Photographs that accompany the message show the hapless reptile being removed from its unusual hiding place, apparently after being electrocuted.
The photographs are genuine and the snake was indeed found dead inside the computer by a technician. However, the description that comes with the photographs has been somewhat embellished.
Reader Wendy Collett contacted me with details about the discovery. She explains:
I can give you the original story of the situation.
The technician who’s hands are shown in the photos is Brian Fox (now deceased), from Brisbane, Australia.
He was called to a job site which was a gardening/grass-growing farm in the general area of Boonah, Queensland, Australia, which the office area had some small holes in the walls, and sometimes had vermin in the office area. The office people called him one day because their computer wasn’t working when it was turned on (they had heard a hissing noise when they turned it on), and he came to site. He first put his hand around the back of the computer to ‘feel’ whether the cords were all in place, then he spun the computer around to find the snake!
The snake is a baby red-belly black snake, which is highly deadly (when alive). It apparently crawled into the computer seeking the warmth of the computer fan after it was turned off for the day, and got electrocuted on the power source on the way out.
This happened in approximately 2002/2003.
Brian gave me a copy of the photos, and I put them on the website I had at the time, and shared the information with a newsgroup forum I used to help moderate for the GoldMine program, called www.contactreview.com (original website since disappeared) – within a couple of days, it was the most popular items on my website, and I had many international visitors having a look. I took down my old website in about 2006, so these photos have certainly been circulating a long time!
The tech support story has been made up, and there was never anything about it being a mouse. Brian did tell me that he never again put his hand behind a computer before first checking visually that there was no more snakes, and he also told me that the grass-growing farm had the holes in the office wall fixed immediately afterwards.
Brian was a bit of a joker and always enjoyed a laugh, but I can guarantee, this was deadly serious, and he took the photos because he thought nobody would believe him if he didn’t!
Sadly, Brian passed away about 2 years ago, so he is unable to speak for himself on this situation, but I hope you enjoy the REAL story of the photos, and learn from the lesson – ALWAYS visually check behind your computer before you reach to ‘feel’ the cords!
As Wendy notes, Red-bellied Black Snake are venomous and certainly pose a danger to humans. The species is found in eastern Australia, including Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and south-eastern South Australia.
Thank you very much to Wendy Collett for taking the time to contact me about this story and for her kind permission to republish her explanation here. Wendy adds that the updated story would be a fitting tribute to Brian Fox’s memory, noting “I’m sure he is looking down on us right now, having a great laugh over the thought of being an ‘urban legend’ on the internet”.
Last updated: 24th August 2010
First published: 11th September 2007
By Brett M. Christensen
Red-bellied Black Snake