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Love at first ssssssight? Why a 4-foot snake broke into NJ elementary classroom

PRINCETON — Third-graders found a boa constrictor in their classroom on Tuesday.

The 4-foot snake was found coiled into a ball on Tuesday inside Ms. Reilly’s classroom at the Riverside Elementary School and was removed by science teacher Mark Eastburn.

Eastburn suspects that the scent of their class pet, a female boa named Cuddles, might have attracted their visitor, which the class named Zeus.

It’s not known how the snake got inside the school. It is believed to be a pet from the surrounding neighborhood.

“My students were all very excited that we had a visitor seeking friendship in Cuddles. They were all asking if I could keep the snake so that Cuddles would not be lonely anymore. They also suggested that Cuddles and Zeus should get married, which was very cute,” Reilly said.

The Princeton Health Department brought Montgomery’s animal control officer in to handle the male snake, which was found to be in poor health.

The students, meanwhile, got a writing assignment out of the experience: the story of how Zeus got to their classroom. One student wrote about Zeus flying to New Jersey in search of his sister. Another imagined that an ugly princess was going to give Zeus as a gift to a king, but he escaped and slithered all the way to Trenton, where he smelled a mate — Cuddles.

Zeus eventually went to Scales and Tails Exotic Pet Rescue in Randolph, which will try to find it a new home.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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