Panicked student discovers pet snake in dorm room

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CLINTON — A panicked Hamilton College student contacted campus security on the morning of Aug. 28 after discovering a snake behind the refrigerator in her dorm room.

Director of Campus Security Francis Coots said the student thought she noticed something strange behind the refrigerator after returning to her room from class.

When poked with a clothes hangar, the head of the 5-foot boa constrictor popped up. That’s when the student called campus security in a panic, asking for help, Coots said.

Coots reiterated that it’s against school policy to have any pets on campus unless they are service animals.

Hamilton College officials said the snake belonged to a student living in Bundy East Residence hall and was being housed in a tote bag and probably escaped under a dorm room door.

Coots said, “I won’t say it was or was not a tote bag, but” the owner of the snake, “did have a container for it” in their dorm room.

The security director said an employee on campus, who had “wildlife expertise” in capturing bats and squirrels, was able to retrieve the snake, put it in a bag and then into a secondary container.

“The Utica Zoo was very helpful” in providing assistance in the situation, Coots said. Zoo officials recommended a contact with Woodhaven Wildlife Center in Chadwicks to transfer ownership of the snake.

Meanwhile, the snake’s owner could be subject to school discipline, he said.

“It would be up to another department whether there’s going to be any type of disciplinary action, but he did violate campus policy,” Coots said of the student.

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