Bowling Green State University Herpetarium
The woman who says she lost her pet snake on the Red Line Thursday has turned to Craigslist in an effort to recover it.
In a post on the online classified ad site headed "penelope- lost snake (T-between park and andrew)" the woman wrote that her snake "is a very mellow snake- never hisses or bites and is very timid. she is a bit under 3 feet long with a brownish, almost pinkish paisley looking pattern on her back. she is 3 years old and i've had her since she was 5 days old. if you see her, if you find her- please call me . . .you will be rewarded and will also be a hero. please help!"
She included a phone number and an e-mail address. In an interview, the woman, who asked to be identified only by her first name, Melissa, said she is accustomed to taking Penelope everywhere, and was wearing her around her neck, concealed by a scarf, when she boarded the T Thursday.
She felt for Penelope at multiple points during her trip, she said, and first noticed her missing as she headed outbound on the Red Line in the late morning. MBTA employees helped her look in the car in which she was riding at JFK/UMass, where they held the train for a few minutes, and performed a more exhaustive search at the Braintree terminus, walking through each of the six train cars and looking under the seats.
Melissa said she considered the search cursory. "For about 20 minutes or so they looked, and they couldn't see her, but they don't realize that no matter how thick she was, she can get into really small places or often under things. You can't really tell. She's related to a ground boa, so she's not likely to climb very high."
She said Penelope belongs to a species known as Dumeril's boa.
"Snakes can get lost in the strangest and smallest places for a very long time before they come out," she said. "The transit authority, they originally asked me if I was hallucinating and if I was on drugs, because I was really frantic looking for her." She said the snake was her and her husband's "dearest pet."
She said people should not be afraid if they encounter Penelope. "If they come across her in a train car, they don't have to be scared about picking her up. I know that people are really squeamish. She's never bitten anyone, she never hisses, she's not aggressive at all."
MBTA officials believe the trains are snake-free, and that passengers should not be concerned, spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.
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