Woman Finds Snake That Was Shipped in Temu Package?

An Oklahoma woman posted a photo of a snake on Facebook and said it arrived inside of a pants order from the China-based online retailer Temu.

Published Feb. 28, 2024

(Nikos Pekiaridis/NurPhoto via Getty Images) (Nikos Pekiaridis/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
(Nikos Pekiaridis/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

On Feb. 8, 2024, an Oklahoma woman named Patty Wills posted (archived) a photo on Facebook of a surprising item she said she found in a package from Temu. According to the post, Wills ordered pants from the China-based online retailer. After the package arrived, she said she left it sitting in her clothes basket for one week. When she got around to opening it, she said, she found a live snake in a sealed, clear plastic bag that was inside.

Wills' post read, "Ok friends I ordered some thing from Temu and it's been sitting in a cloths basket for a week now I just took the pants out of it and OMG and yes it was alive."

A woman in Oklahoma named Patty Wills said that she found a live snake inside of her pants package that she received from Temu apparently in China.

At press time, the post was closing in on 10,000 shares, many from users who seemingly placed complete trust in the evidence-thin post and expressed that they no longer wanted to order from Temu. For example, one user posted (archived), "Real or not, this is another reason I will NEVER buy from Temu."

One commenter who apparently is fearful of snakes posted a "kill it with fire" GIF. Another person added a comment that read, "Fire is the only option."

It was not entirely clear whether the package Wills said she received came from China, where most of Temu's goods are believed to be shipped from.

Snopes attempted to contact Wills by phone and Messenger to ask about the post. We also emailed Temu to ask whether Wills had reached out to the company about the snake purportedly being found in the package. This story will be updated if we receive responses.

While we were not able to nail down all of the facts regarding this rumor right away, Snopes gathered opinions from snake enthusiasts and two herpetologists that perhaps shed some light on what may have transpired.

Snake Enthusiasts Discuss the Post

In the popular Facebook group Snake Identification: Discussion and Resources — which has nearly 160,000 members — one user asked about Wills' post, writing, "I am skeptical and want to debunk this post. Can someone ID this snake and is it common in China? Could a snake actually survive in a plastic bag for several weeks? It seems absurd to me."

Users in the comments under the group's post discussed the fact that the snake in the photo appeared to possibly be a juvenile, nonvenomous North American racer, which is common in the U.S. Regarding Wills' story, they also said they believed it was far more likely that the snake — if it truly was live and was not a toy or a prank — had slithered into the plastic bag after it arrived in Oklahoma.

What Do Herpetologists Say?

John Kleopfer, a herpetologist with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, told Snopes by email that he looked at the post and photo and gathered opinions from two colleagues.

"[It] appears to be a juvenile coachwhip, which are native to Oklahoma," Kleopfer said, also telling us that the coachwhip — which is not venomous — can have a similar appearance to the racer. "It wouldn't have been able to survive in a sealed bag for a week. So her story that it came from Temu is complete nonsense."

Meanwhile, Stephen Mackessy, a professor at the University of Northern Colorado who has a background of study in herpetology, said in an email to Snopes that the photo was "not ideal" to make a firm determination but said he agreed with the users in the snake-centric Facebook group who believed it to be a newborn racer.

"It is completely harmless — and regardless, the comments on the original post ("burn it up, fire is the only [option]") just serve to remind us how fearful people can be when they are ignorant of the actual facts," Mackessy said. "As to whether or not this was staged — it is VERY unlikely that this snake originated in China (but there are similar racer-like species in China, and the photo is not ideal), and the photo certainly could have been faked/staged, but it is a real snake."

Mackessy added that he once received a package with a snake inside it that came from the Far East, telling Snopes, "Many small animals 'hitchhike' on our global transports of goods. We once received a small viper that showed up on wicker furniture that a business in Denver had imported from Taiwan. So, animals can be transported around the world unintentionally, and some of them, like small reptiles, can tolerate pretty nasty conditions for an extended period of time."

For further reading, Snopes previously reported about whether or not Temu is a Communist China-based scam that spies on users.


Chow, Andrew R. "The Truth About Temu, the Most Downloaded New App in America." TIME, 29 Dec. 2022,

Hadero, Haleluya. "Temu Is Planning to Open up Its Marketplace to U.S. and European Sellers." The Associated Press, 25 Jan. 2024,

Kleopfer, John. State Herpetologist with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. Email, 28 Feb. 2024.

"North American Racer (Coluber Constrictor)." iNaturalist,

"Snake Identification: Discussion and Resources." Facebook,

"Species Profile: Coachwhip (Masticophis Flagellum)." SREL Herpetology,

"Steve Mackessy, Professor, School of Biological Sciences, Natural and Health Sciences." University of Northern Colorado,

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.

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