Reader Finds Tales and a Tail in Library Book

Snake in plastic bag inside library book

Readers expect to find tales, not tails, in books. This story is about the latter.

A Carnegie Mellon University Libraries patron discovered a bagged, flattened snake in a copy of Brenda Shaughnessy's "The Octopus Museum."

Samuel L. Jackson would not be pleased.

Kate Neilsen, a professor of English at Villanova University, found the unexpected bookworm. The snake made headlines after her husband tweeted about the discovery.

"So, um...weird question: is this your snake?? My wife checked out a book of poetry from @CMULibraries and it came with a snake in a bag," tweeted Joey Neilsen, a physics professor at Villanova.

University Libraries retweeted his note with the comment, "Maybe it was a hisstory book? (please don't put snakes in books)."

The snake and the book are heading back to Pittsburgh. Amy Perrier, access services manager for University Libraries said they are searching for the snake's owner, but because the book was previously loaned through an interlibrary loan servce called E-ZBorrow, it might be difficult to find the person.

"I'm excited to get it back, and I would love to find out who the owner was," Perrier said. "Otherwise we'll find someplace for it in the library. Maybe even make it our mascot."

A flattened snake is one of the most unusual items she's heard of being found in a book.

Read the full story on CMU News.