There’s a snake in my book

Hannah Thompson

Who doesn’t love baby animals?
They’re cute, they’re fun and they’re
currently waging war on the school.
On September 3rd, an unwelcome
visitor slithered its
way into Hanover
High School. The
black rat snake
was seen
by English
Teacher Daniel
Hefko in
his room in
the 300s pod.
The snake was discovered when
Hefko picked up a pile of textbooks
in his classroom. Upon finding a scaly
squatter under his volumes of literature,
Hefko turned to Biology teaher
Jessica Orth for help. Orth found
(and Critter Control later confirmed)
that it was a black rat snake, which is
Upon determining that the reptile
was not venomous Orth and Hefko
leapt into action only to discover that
someone already had.
“We were in the process of getting
a trashcan. We were going to catch
and release it. Then a janitor came
in with his tool and, well, then
there was blood everywhere,” described
Hefko, “That was it. That
was the end of the snake.”
According to the Smithsonian’s
National Zoological Park, a grown rat
snake can range from 42 to 72 inches
in length and are about 1.5 inches in
diameter. Though they can get rather
large, these snakes are not usually
dangerous. When black rat snakes
feel they are in danger they immediately
freeze up. They only strike if
The rat snake discovered
in HHS
was neither full
grown nor prepared
to strike. Biology teacher Jessica
Orth was upset with how the baby
animal was treated.
“It was tiny. No bigger in width
than a pencil and only about twelve
inches long and it was so cute. Then
they killed it. It was absolutely traumatizing,”
Orth said.
While some are on the edge of
their seats awaiting the most recent
word on the snakes, others would
rather remain blissfully in the
dark about the issue. Assistant Principal
Erica Gervais commented that
she didn’t know, and didn’t want to
know, anything about the critters.
Similarly, senior Allison Burns
said, “Personally, I would rather not
know there are snakes in the school
because it freaks me out and scares
me, but I trust that Mr. Mercer will
take care of it.”
Assistant principal Walt Mercer
divulged that the snakes had been an
issue over the summer, but assured
students that the problem
was taken care of after
the most recent incident.
Mercer has been
working with county
maintenance and
exterminators to
ensure that the
vile beasts don’t
strike again.
“We hired a company
called Critter
Control who (…) surveyed
around the building and found
that there were three points around
doorways where the caulking had
deteriorated and there was a hole,”
Mercer said. “So he caulked all these
areas and was really confident that he
had got it.”
Of course, venomous or not, many
students and faculty members alike
have an uncontrollable fear of
snakes and the havoc they can supposedly
So, both those who had been long
awaiting this take on the snake and
those who were happier not knowing
anything at all can rest assured knowing
that HHS is now safe



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