updated 5/29/2006 4:01:37 AM ET 2006-05-29T08:01:37

The next time Dan McBride rents a car, he may want to inspect it not just for dings and dents but also for snakes.

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The assistant athletic director at Eastern Kentucky University found a two-foot-long ball python in his rental car this week as he left the Ohio Valley Conference baseball tournament in Paducah.

McBride got into his car Wednesday night with a colleague and saw the snake draped across the console.

McBride said he thought it was a rubber snake someone put there as a joke. He even gave the snake a pat and put the car into drive.

As he drove toward the exit, the snake lifted its head. McBride hit the brakes, then started to get out of the car. But the snake was on the gearshift, forcing McBride to keep his foot on the brake.

"You can't act tough when you are sitting a foot and a half away from a snake," said his colleague, Simon Gray.

The snake was captured, and was being held until its owner comes to claim it, authorities said.

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