GREENVILLE, Maine — For more than two years, “Buddy” was the quiet one who never caused any problems at Greenville High School.
That changed May 12, when the 2-foot-long boa constrictor escaped his confines and hid inside an old computer printer in his room.
When school officials discovered his empty cage in a classroom Tuesday, they went into a search mode, according to Greenville Superintendent Heather Perry. Students were told to be on the lookout and, while the snake is harmless, the police department was advised, she said Friday.
“We went into the classroom where the snake was and we completely moved everything out of the classroom and searched everything,” including the heating systems, Perry said. When Buddy was not found, she said everything was put back into the classroom and the search was expanded to the rest of the school.
Despite the hundreds of eyes looking for him, Buddy was nowhere to be found until Thursday night.
Buddy had escaped notice in his new quarters even though the printer had been moved during the search. Nobody had opened up the printer to check inside, Perry said.
That old printer, which was useless to the school, was given to a student to take home and dismantle, Perry said.
That student decided to give the printer to his friend’s mom, Sarah McNinch, who had offered him a ride home Thursday afternoon.
McNinch put the printer on a bench in the hallway after she arrived home, according to her daughter Mallarie McNinch, 16. The student said she had been walking to the kitchen when she spied something on the printer move and noticed the snake’s head.
“Oh, my God, there’s a snake,” she recalled shouting. Mallarie said she screamed for her mother to take the family’s two small dogs outside and put them inside the car. She also told her mother to get the neighbor.
The neighbor, expecting a garter snake, took a step back when he realized he was looking at boa constrictor, Mallarie said Friday. “We were all flipping out at this point,” she recalled. It was then that they called Greenville police.
Sgt. Jeffrey Pomerleau, who responded to the call, managed to get the snake into a cat carrier. He said Friday that Buddy didn’t like the temporary quarters any better than Pomerleau liked snakes. And to prove it, Buddy escaped from the cat carrier in the cruiser en route to the school, prompting another capture and reconfinement.
Perry said Buddy has since been transferred to the home of a local teacher.