The school's principal says they've found evidence that the snake is up in the school's ventilation system
Students at a Wisconsin high school headed back to class Wednesday on high alert — and not because of summer reading pop quizzes.
Fond du Lac High School in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin has been on the hunt for Kai — a three-foot-long ball python, who remains missing within the school after escaping his cage this weekend.
“Kai the python has not been found yet,” Principal Matthew Steinbarth tells PEOPLE. “We do know that he went up into one of the science [ducts] that is used for ventilation when they’re working with chemicals or paints or anything with fumes.”
Steinbarth says they were able to pinpoint the location thanks to help from herpetologists, and confirmed Kai’s hideout after dismantling portions of the machinery and finding a dead giveaway: slither marks.
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Kai, the family pet of a biology teacher, occasionally accompanies the instructor to class so students can see first hand the ball python’s special defense mechanism of rolling itself into a ball.
“We think he just decided to bump the top of his cage off. Either that or the teacher said she was in a hurry to leave that day and she maybe had bumped the desk that it had been on and it jarred the lid a little bit,” Steinbarth says. “The snake had just come in from being gone all summer, so he was a little bit more curious about what was going on in the new surroundings, so he wasn’t his normal, docile self.”
Ball pythons are nocturnal and are typically gentle creatures who curl up into a ball when they feel startled or endangered in order to protect their neck and head area, meaning the missing snake poses no real threat to the students. Steinbarth says Kai is between 4 and 5 years old.