The Green Mountain State is known for maple syrup, cows – and now a missing four-foot Rainbow Boa.
On Feb. 2, Castleton students were both alarmed and slightly humored when they received an e-mail from Public Safety Director Keith Molinari stating that a snake had gone missing from the zoology lab in Jeffords Science Center.
When faculty returned from the weekend, the snake was found missing from its three-foot by one-foot glass tank and the rock placed on top of the cover had been removed.
Although biology professor Brad Coupe said the snake very well could have escaped, it seems more likely it was stolen since the lid was pushed firmly down.
The e-mail was focused more on the safety of the snake, rather than to alarm the Castleton community, because if the snake is subjected to non-tropical temperatures for an extended period of time, it is unlikely it will survive, said Courtney Parker, communications coordinator at Castleton College.
“It’s one of our main concerns as to why someone would take this, especially since it means so much to someone on campus,” Parker said.
When asked how she felt when first hearing the news, Parker responded, with a hesitant laugh, saying she was surprised initially, but also disappointed that the students, who are given such great opportunities, decide to take advantage of them.
Many students were surprised at discovering Castleton had made it into news pages across the country including The Huffington Post. But others were disappointed.
“I think it’s pathetic that it made the news. The state of Vermont should be focusing on things more important than a snake,” said senior Karla Hunter.
Coupe’s face lit up as he spoke enthusiastically about the docile nature of the snake. He emphasized that the snake is not poisonous and will not harm anyone.
“Now, of course, I do hear students talking about it in the hallway saying ‘what if we found it right now’ and I say ‘you’ll give it to me and I’ll be happy!’” Coupe said with a chuckle.
The snake, which science students said belongs to fellow science professor Cynthia Moulton, has been the talk of the building for days.
“I have interacted with it. professor Coupe brought it into a meeting and I was terrified of it,” said junior Kelsey O’Rourke.
As soon as word of the snake hit, social media instantly exploded with many tweeting about Castleton being too quick to accept Tom Riddle, a reference from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
But despite all of the talk, the snake’s whereabouts and who might be involved has remained a mystery.
“I’m surprised there hasn’t been any gossip about it within the student body. How have we not heard anything?” said junior Coral Torelli.
As of the end of break, there still was no word on where it might be or who might have been responsible.