Meet the snake who just could not handle this particularly undigestible meal – a doorknob.
The western rat snake needed a stomach operation to remove the doorknob after swallowing it in a garden in Ballwin, Missouri.
The animal used to catch rodents outside a family’s chicken coup, where they had placed an old white doorknob on the ground as a “dummy egg” to encourage hens to lay.
But when they returned they found the snake sprawled out on the ground with an enormous doorknob shaped bump in its stomach.
X-rays taken by vets show the outline of the knob lodged halfway down the snake’s body.
The animal had a successful operation to remove the item and was returned to the wild to carry on rat-catching.
He was given the nickname “Doorknob” because of his exploits.
Kim Rutledge from the Wildlife Rescue Centre in Ballwin, Missouri, said: “The family would ’employ’ him to catch rodents from their chicken coup.
“A doorknob was used as a kind of dummy egg to help him to stay.”
The family were happy for the snake to keep returning to their garden as it was eating unwanted rats.
However, it thought the doorknob was a chicken’s egg and tried to eat it.
Vets performed emergency gastric surgery to slice through the reptile’s shiny black scales and remove the doorknob.
The animal was left with a six-inch long wound and been recovering for the past few months.
Ms Rutledge said: “We don’t name our wildlife patients, but everyone just called him ‘Doorknob’.
“He was a super cool, well-mannered snake over six feet long. It’s a great story from beginning to end.”