Conspiracy theory gives way to black snake

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RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) - Fans of the Jack Gravely Show, on WLEE 990 am, were certain the recent outages were conspiracy to keep the talk show host off the air.

But Friday’s outage at the radio station's eastern Henrico County transmitter building had nothing to do with a conspiracy— nor did Tuesday’s outage.

Turns out, the culprit is a five to six-foot black snake who decided to make his home inside the small building and as a result, has caused more than a few headaches.

On Friday, an engineer went down to diagnose the intermittent audio issues, saw a black snake and left.  Then another engineer came and repaired some issues where it looked like the snake had pushed some of our equipment around and dislocated some connections. 

“Yesterday we had more trouble just before the Jack Gravely Show and put us off the air for several hours,” said Jim Jacobs, General Manager of Davidson Media Group that owns four radio stations in the city.

And in the same way your car stops acting up when you take it to the mechanic, the snake disappeared when Game and Inland Fisheries arrived to remove it.

But that wasn't the case Wednesday morning, when Jacobs opened the door for our CBS 6 camera, and we found the snake curled up in the rafters.

Jacobs wanted the snake gone before it caused anymore issues, but for now, it has eluded capture.

Susan Watson with Game and Inland Fisheries said the black rat snake is the most common here in Virginia.

A non-venomous snake, it can grow to six feet and is well known to make its way into rafters and into trees as well.

"The thing that tends to make people see them more is just the weather conditions,” said Watson.

She said that rain forces the creatures up high because their normal spots are flooded.

“So they're out and about trying to get to higher ground,” said Watson. “And when it’s extremely dry, they're moving about looking for water.”

Watson said if you see a black snake, just leave it alone and although some believe snakes will chase people, the wildlife biologist said that is just not the case.