Life got real for one Colorado State University student Wednesday when a snake bit her in the hand during LIFE class.
At 2 p.m. a bull snake made its way into Clark A101 — one of the largest lecture halls on campus — and caused an uproar in the classroom, where some students hopped on top of their chairs.
The non-poisonous snake bit one student, whose name has not been released.
CSU Instructor Stu Field was minutes into his lecture when students noticed the snake slithering near the west doors of the classroom.
“Snakes, as they often do, wander around campus and sometimes find classrooms, I guess,” Field said.
The sole student bitten, Field said, was attempting to get the snake under control.
“She is OK,” Field said. “It was just a scratch on her hand. I insisted she go to have it looked at.”
He described the reptile as a bull snake of decent size.
Brittanny Bellefeuille, a freshman chemical engineering major, said she remembered the scene in the classroom vividly.
“Class had just started and then one girl stood on her chair and started screaming. Then every girl around it started screaming and all the girls stood on their chairs,” Bellefeuille said. “Everyone else was confused until the word spread. Then everyone stood on their chairs to see what was going on.”
Field told the class to evacuate the room, something he said most students failed to do. He did not want the snake to feel threatened by being cornered, he said, even though bull snakes are generally not aggressive.
In an e-mail, Field said: “There seems to be some dispute over the size of the snake, which I find amusing. Students are saying anywhere from 1-3 feet. I would say 2.5-3 feet perhaps.”
A student in the class was worried the snake would have been killed if Facilities Management removed the snake. The student, a male, reportedly put the snake in his backpack and left class to set it free.
Dell Rae Moellenberg, a spokesperson for CSU, said that generally, unless an animal is dangerous, or if there are unusual circumstances, stray, wild animals are released back into the wild.
This, she said, is what happens when birds, for example, fly into buildings through windows or doors.
Field said the male who put the snake in his bag left immediately.
“I wasn’t letting the snake hang out,” he said. “In retrospect there was no real danger.”
Moellenberg said the last unusual instance a wild animal was on campus was about three or five years ago.
“On the first day of class a bear was in a tree,” Moellenberg said. “It was around the Oval and the Division of Wildlife took care of it.”
Moellenberg said animals, like snakes, frogs or lizards, are not allowed as pets in the dorms. Fish, she added, are allowed.
As to how the snake got in Clark, Field could only speculate.
“I have a feeling someone brought it in,” he said. “Its not likely a bull snake would wander on campus, let alone in a building, then a hall and classroom.”
Assistant News Editor Nikki Cristello can be reached at email@example.com.