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Coquitlam teacher who found massive corn snake 'too chicken' to pick it up

Tina Borsa called Coquitlam animal control about the corn snake and was relieved that city bylaw officers were able to rescue it and take it to a Maple Ridge vet; his video shared widely about the 'grumpy' snake is a warning to not abandon animals

A Coquitlam teacher has turned her fear of touching a snake into a teachable moment for her students.

Tina Borsa called city authorities when she spied a one and a half metre long corn snake near a park last Friday afternoon because she was worried it would die of exposure.

But, said the teacher, she was too squeamish to touch it, so city park and bylaw employees came to the aid of the reptile.

Now her entire Montgomery middle school class of Grade 6 and 7 students is laughing at her.

Borsa said she called animal control and the BC Reptile Club who said it was "super gentle" and could she pick it up.

“To which I said no, I’m super chicken. That’s why my class laughed and made fun of me,” said Borsa, who added the snake story turned into a highlight for her class during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when they saw it had gleaned a lot of media and public attention.

Also part of the reptile rescue team were members of Coquitlam park and bylaw services staff, who used a towel and an animal carrier to scoop up the colourful snake.


Borsa, who team teaches with colleague Vayla Sievers, said the story of how she saw the giant snake wriggling in the grass near Robson Park was a teachable moment in how to properly care for pets.

She said she was worried at how the snake would survive in such cold temperatures.

“It was way, way, way too cold for this snake here,” Borsa said, who said she was worried it would suffer from exposure. “Thankfully, we got it to safety or I don’t think it would have survived.”

But it turns out the snake was healthy and otherwise unharmed when it was brought to the Coquitlam animal shelter by city staff, according to Aaron Hilgerdenaar, bylaw enforcement and animal services manager.


“We don’t know if it was abandoned or escaped, but we have had no one calling the shelter about someone missing their snake,” said Hilgerdenaar.

The snake was taken to Dr. Adrian Walton of the Dewdney Animal Hospital, who posted a video on his hospital Facebook page warning people not to “dump” pets when they get tired of them.

When the snake wriggled in his hands, Walton said it may have been "grumpy," at which point in the video the spunky reptile relieved itself.

As for Borsa, she regrets not touching the snake, with its beautiful, copper colouring, and says she is usually a big fan of reptiles.

“I love reptiles and I want to make sure people are taking care of them,” she said.