The Sawtooth Animal Clinic announced Tuesday that a 20-inch ball python found at a home in Hailey the night of July 4 is being given to Wood River Middle School.
"It's going to have a lot of attention and handling and it's going to be educational and we thought that was the best choice," said receptionist Dee Weaver, who is considered the snake expert at the clinic.
Weaver said the clinic was "inundated" with telephone calls after a story about the python was published in the Friday, July 8, edition of the Idaho Mountain Express.
"We had a couple of people who thought it was theirs, but no one came forward to claim it," Weaver said. She said one man called from Boise, saying he used to live in the area of Hailey where the snake was found and that he lost a python while living there.
"But he never showed up," Weaver said.
Hailey police brought the python to the clinic in Bellevue around midnight on July 4. It was found by the new residents of a home on South River Street, trapped between a screen and main door in a small patio area.
Once the snake arrived at the clinic, Weaver identified it as a ball python. She says she's not particularly fond of snakes, but that her husband is, owning a 6-foot red tail boa that she bought for him 13 years ago.
She said the clinic received numerous telephone calls from people who wanted the snake. The main consideration in deciding to give the snake to the Middle School was the "welfare of the animal," she said.
Ball pythons are the smallest python species, rarely exceeding four feet in length. They are normally considered good natured and one of the better large snake species to keep as a pet.
The python at the clinic seems to like people, emerging out of a ball shape when people give it attention.
Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter said the clinic made a good decision.
"I'm good with it, as long as it goes to the middle school," Gunter said. "I think that they'll take good care of it and if an owner wants to claim it, we'll have no trouble getting it back for them."
"I'm glad it's going to the middle school," Weaver said. "Otherwise, it was possibly coming to my house."
Terry Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org