After students had left North High School in Newton, Mass. for the summer, custodian Ed Reardon was cleaning out lockers. Each year the school district donates the abandoned books to charity. But when he reached into the top of one locker, a three-foot python fell to his feet.
“I just thought it was a change purse or something,” Reardon told a local newspaper with a laugh. “I bent down, because I wasn’t sure if it was real, and I realized it was the real thing,” he said. Identified as a ball python, Reardon used a notebook to keep the snake from escaping and picked it up by the back of the head. “It can’t bite you if you grab it by the back of the neck,” he said, of the technique he had seen on nature shows.
The snake, which is not indigenous to the area, was taken to a pet store for proper care. The python had been in the locker long enough to shed its skin, and was quite dehydrated. Reardon hopes to find the student who abandoned the snake. “I’m more concerned about the cruelty of it,” he said. “This is not a way of leaving school for the summer by leaving a defenseless animal in a locker without food or water.” Although he considered it, Reardon concluded that he could not adopt the snake himself: “I have a Jack Russell terrier, so they wouldn’t get along.”