A hitchhiking snake? Here's one Arizona woman's encounter with local wildlife

If you have a fear of snakes, it may go to the next level after hearing about a native Arizona snake that tried to hitch a ride with a local.

On May 3, an Instagram account with the username Lauren Kay posted a video of a large snake emerging from the crevices of her vehicle's hood while driving on the freeway.

A caption on the video read "POV: You're driving but in Arizona," for the post that now had nearly 2 million likes and over 14,000 comments.

The snake peeked its head into the windshield of the vehicle, seemingly confused by the winds of a vehicle moving down a busy Arizona freeway.

"Was he ok?? I have so many questions," Vanessa Yvonne commented on Instagram.

Instagram user Lauren Kay, with the handle @hilaurenkaym, did not respond to our requests for an interview. However, she later shared a series of story posts on May 5.

"You tell me why apparently the most interesting thing I've ever done in my life is take a video of a (explicative) snake," Lauren said, with a mix of excitement and angst.

"This snake is safe, he survived," she said, but she did not add any details about how the snake may have gotten into the vehicle.

Do snakes often become stowaways in Arizona vehicles?

While the incident may have caught the internet's attention, Arizona Department of Game and Fish spokesperson Tom Cadden said incidents like this are rare.

Cadden added that after speaking to a Game and Fish expert on reptiles, the slithery creature appeared to be a gopher snake, one of the most common nonvenomous snakes in Arizona.

"Just speculating, but it may have entered the engine compartment in search of rodents, as it is possible for mice or other rodents to get inside an engine compartment and chew on wires," Cadden said.

Lauren Kay, the Instagram user who posted the video sparking questions to Cadden, could not be reached for comment about how she believed the snake got into her vehicle.

"That said, there have been other incidents of snakes and other wildlife in vehicles," added Cadden, who referenced a variety of past incidents which included a snake sneaking into a vehicle seat, to bears, and even bobcats ending up in the grill of a vehicle.

What should you do if you encounter a snake?

Whether a snake is making itself known to you by creeping around inside your car or crossing the path of your favorite hiking trail, there are general tips to stay safe.

Game and Fish recommends people learn the difference between a venomous and a nonvenomous snake, like a gopher snake, and always take a snake bite seriously no matter if you know what kind of snake caused that bite.

You should never make sudden moves around a snake, as this could incite a defensive strike from the snake.

Those who encounter a snake are instead suggested to slowly and calmly move away from the snake and allow it to clear the path.

The Phoenix Herpetological Society said to never approach or attempt to move or harm a snake in peculiar circumstances.

The organization charges $100 for any snake removal call and said on its website "which is less expensive than a hospital visit from trying to remove the snake yourself."

PHS' snake hotline can be reached at 602-550-1090. The organization added that it doesn't matter if the snake is venomous or not.

Do other Arizona creatures make their way into vehicles too?

Game and Fish's Tom Cadden cited previous instances where bobcats and even bears had made their way into Arizona vehicles, but Cadden reemphasized that these sightings were uncommon.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Snake rides on Arizona woman's car while on freeway in viral video