By Lani Duke
CASTLETON—A four-foot-long, young Brazilian rainbow boa is still missing from the Castleton State College science labs. The classroom in which it resided in the Jeffords Science Center was locked over the weekend of Jan. 31-Feb. 1 and remained locked Monday, Feb. 2, due to a snow day. Tuesday morning the snake had disappeared, officials reported.
The story was picked up by the Associated Press, circulating the news nationally.
The orange tropical snake disappeared from its weighted-lid container in a lcoked classroom, which has lead college officials and police to believe the snake was stolen. A campus-wide email asked students to be on the watch for the boa and to report any information they might know about its whereabouts. Baby rainbow boas bear a dealer price tag of about $200, but school officials are more concerned for the animal’s safety than monetary loss. A short exposure to winter cold would likely be fatal, and tropical snakes need special care to stay healthy. The school told WCAX in an interview last week that the snake cannot survive outside its heated cage for more than a couple hours, and likely died within minutes if it left the building.
“It needs to be in a tropical climate in order to survive. It is a personal pet and the likelihood of the snake surviving is unrealistic at this point. No teeth. No venom. Very much a docile creature that’s fed frozen mice and doesn’t have the ability to hunt anymore at this point. It’s a unique snake and certainly not a danger if it was to survive at this point,” said Jeff Weld, Castleton State College director of marketing and communications.