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NASHVILLE, Tenn.- It was a scary start to the school year at the Susan Gray Head Start Center in Nashville, after several snakes were found inside a classroom.
The Metro Action Commission, which runs the head start program, says the discovery was made before any children returned to the school.
"About a week before school started, a couple of our staff located some dead baby snakes that were in one of our classrooms," said Lisa McCrady with Metro Action Commission. "And because we have a lot of people looking at us, and because we are parents ourselves, we wanted to make sure the children are safe while they're here."
The school immediately called Metro Animal Control, who searched the building's ventilation system, set traps, and cleared the building long before students arrived on campus.
"We took the ceiling tiles down, and there were no snakes to be found, no evidence of snakes being up there at all," said Billy Biggs with Metro Animal Control.
Local herpetologist Lisa Powers told NewsChannel 5 the snakes the school is dealing with are likely either garter, ringneck, or king snakes. All three are common to Tennessee, and non are venomous.
She says the snakes probably wound up in the school's ventilation system while looking for a dark, safe place to hide.
"Even on the very remote possibility that there are more snakes in there, they are non-venomous, harmless species, and the snakes are really in more danger than the kids," she said.Powell believes the snakes probably died during the summer because of a lack of a food source or heat inside the building.
McCrady says the snakes likely got in through an HVAC unit on the roof that has since been secured, to prevent any more from getting in.
"Although we don't know for sure if that was the entry point, we screened it off just to make sure if it was, it could not happen again," she said.