Jack Hauserman's pet boa constrictor, Cleopatra, was trying to catch birds two weeks ago in a field outside her Towson, Md., home when she disappeared into a "little ole hole." Hauserman, 17, thought she was gone for good.

But the adventuresome Cleopatra just wiggled her five-and-a-half foot-long body a block away and into a car parked near the Baltimore County jail.

And when Brian Berkeridge found out that the hissing sound he heard in his car was not a leaky tire but a snake, he "just froze."

Berkeridge pulled into a car wash Saturday 20 miles down the Baltimore Beltway from Cleopatra's home and a state trooper, there for a car wash, spotted the reptile gliding out of the grill of Berkeridge's auto.

State Trooper James Emerick and Cpl. Francis France used a stick to prod the snake into a garbage can. They took her to the State Police barracks, where a snake-loving trooper, Cpl. Bud Kellerman, saved the lost Cleopatra from sure execution by gunshot.

After a story about the finding of the snake was broadcast over the radio. Hauserman and his pet were reunited.

Hauserman is grateful but Cleopatra, he says, is "pretty indifferent to it all."