NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) – First, an auto repair shop helped Cami the boa constrictor. Now it’s a veterinarian.

Left for a few minutes in Ryan Blackwood’s car, his 9-foot boa constrictor wrapped herself around the heater box under the dashboard, possibly looking for warmth. Blackwood disassembled the dashboard, vainly trying to reach his pet.

The next morning, when he could find an open service station, Blackwood took his car in and explained the problem.

A technician stepped in after a colleague who was first assigned balked at working around a snake. The auto dealership charged Blackwood $75.

Hearing a faint heartbeat in his reptile friend, Blackwood, a contractor for Lockheed Martin at Groton-New London Airport, took her to a Rhode Island veterinarian who specializes in caring for reptiles.

Cami is now on a respirator, Blackwood said, and her prognosis isn’t great.

“Her heartbeat did get a little stronger,” he said.

Cami, who is familiar with the car from traveling around the country with Blackwood over the past three years, is usually put in a crate on long drives. For short hops, as on the day she got into trouble, Cami would hang out on a blanket on the front passenger seat.

“Usually, she’s smart about not getting caught someplace she can’t get back out of,” Blackwood said.

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