EUGENE, Ore. - No sooner had Michael Fitch got home from work than his wife called him into the kitchen.
"Honey, I need you," Fitch remembers hearing. "And I'm like what? I'm busy! Why, what's going on? And she said, 'We have a snake.' "
Fitch thought it must be a joke.
"I walk down there and I turn around and I look and sure enough, there was a snake," he said, "and it's got its head sticking out,"
Tongue flicking in and out, the stealthy, slithery serpeant was just lounging in Fitch's dishwasher vent.
"Um, OK," he remembers thinking. "What the heck do we do now?"
Fitch doesn't like snakes, so he prepared for battle by arming himself with gloves, tongs and a lunch bin.
His wife photographed it all.
"I grabbed a hold of it, and we had a tug of war," Fitch said. "It literally put up a fight.
"And I hate to say it," he added, "I had to give it a little bit of a twist and pull harder."
Fitch took the snake outside and let it go.
He's not the only one surprised by what happened.
"Um, that's a little unusual," said Yosef Uyeda, a PhD candidate in herpetology at Oregon State in Corvallis.
Uyeda studies Oregon's snakes. He said the dishwasher snake was a western garter snake.
And like almost every snake in Oregon, it was not dangerous.
"There's only one dangerous snake in Oregon," Uyeda said, "the western rattle snake."
"It's very unlikely you would misidentify a garter snake for that," he said.
Perhaps the snake was harmless, but that doesn't comfort Fitch.
"I went to pull the dishwasher open this morning and got it halfway open and all of a sudden went, 'Oh, I should check.'
"Now I have to wonder," he said, "could it happen again?"