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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Snakes Alive! Hunt Is On For Phineas, The Runaway From Cv

Phineas, a 4-foot corn snake, is missing from Room 11 at Central Valley High School.

Science teacher Nels Pitotti says Phineas is harmless - except to mice or rats.

“He loves students. He’s never struck at a student. He’s never even looked longingly at a student,” says Pitotti.

Also known as rat snakes, corn snakes such as Phineas hail from back East or the South, Pitotti says. They hang out in cornfields or near corn cribs, hence the nickname. Phineas hibernated for three months last year. Pitotti suspects he’s found a warm place for the winter - maybe next to a cozy heat duct, under the floor of a snug classroom.

“We put out an all-points bulletin,” Pitotti says. But Phineas isn’t answering.

The snake came up missing over the weekend of Oct. 10 and 11. Phineas’ only suspicious behavior was his failure to eat the last mouse that Pitotti popped into his 5-foot cage.

Pitotti has had Phineas for three years; the snake belonged to his daughter-in-law for three years before that.

This is Phineas’ first escape. But, Pittoti notes, “One of his roommates used to be a fellow by the name of Houdini, a rosey boa who had the habit of escaping.”

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: AN APB FOR PHINEAS Science teacher Nels Pitotti has asked Central Valley High School students and staff for help capturing his runaway corn snake, Phineas. So far, he’s considering these methods: Plan A: Stake out a good-looking girl corn snake, all dolled up in a hula skirt. Plan B: Lure Phineas in with a candlelit mouse dinner. Plan C: “We’ll just set out a little peanut butter, and he’ll be back in a Jif.”

This sidebar appeared with the story: AN APB FOR PHINEAS Science teacher Nels Pitotti has asked Central Valley High School students and staff for help capturing his runaway corn snake, Phineas. So far, he’s considering these methods: Plan A: Stake out a good-looking girl corn snake, all dolled up in a hula skirt. Plan B: Lure Phineas in with a candlelit mouse dinner. Plan C: “We’ll just set out a little peanut butter, and he’ll be back in a Jif.”

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