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Classroom Rattlesnake Leaving High School After 30 Years

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AUBURN (CBS13) – A poisonous rattlesnake was kept as a pet, but not at home.

The snake was kept in the Placer High School biology class for more than 30 years.

His name is Stryker. He’s a 5-foot-long rattlesnake living at the high school. But, he’s going to be moving soon and it’ll take some adjustment.

“In 1982, one of my biology students showed up, first period, with a rattle snake in a coffee can,” said teacher Douglas Stryker.

Ever since, the snake, named after Mr. Stryker, has called Placer High School home.

The snake, though, is a short timer.

“It was a liability issue,” said a school representative.

The snake’s unintended cost has the district rattled. An extra $50,000 is the insurance premium to keep a poisonous snake in the classroom.

“It’s sad,” sophomore Hanna Hensler said. “It has a pretty good life here.”

After 30 years here, Placer High School could miss out on a special moment. Douglas says the snake will soon break a world record.

“Thirty years, seven months is a zoo documented, the longest a rattle snake has ever been in captivity,” said Douglas.

Now retired, Douglas has a message for the administration that kicked his friend to the curb.

“Thirty-eight kids in a chemistry classroom is more of a liability,” said Douglas.

Douglas says he may be on to something with the longevity of reptiles. He actually owns a turtle, that’s 45 years old.

CBS13 is told Stryker will not lose his day job. He’s being moved to Splash, a program at Mather Field that teaches science to elementary school students.

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