Occasionally, Mother Nature knocks down power lines with wind or severe rain. Ice and heavy snow are often culprits. Or there’s the classic tale of a kitty stuck on a utility pole near electrical wires.

But Sunday, residents of Upper Marlboro lost power because of a more unusual creature messing with a Pepco substation: a snake.

About 10:43 a.m. on the warm, clear day, customers in the Upper Marlboro area reported they had lost power. Clay Anderson, a spokesman for the utility, said five circuit feeders were not working at a substation, leaving about 6,800 customers without electricity on Easter.

Crews tried to offset the problem by moving loads from that substation to others in the area, Anderson said.

Shortly after 1 p.m., Anderson said that power had been restored to most of those in the affected area. The problem, crews discovered, was that a snake had “fouled up a breaker” at the substation, Anderson said.

The snake “got stuck in a breaker” and was electrocuted, and crews had to remove the remains to fix the equipment. The snake “gummed up the works,” Anderson said. “It sounds bizarre, but [the crew] said it was a gooey mess.”