What does it take to catch a snake?

That was the question on the lips of many people at the University of Guelph on Friday, as the clocked ticked past 24 hours since a 60-centimetre-long ball python was reported as missing.

The snake is not venomous, nor is it considered dangerous in any other way.

“It’s actually very docile. It’s not aggressive,” Mario Deschamps, a special constable with the university’s campus police, said Friday.

The python was reported missing Thursday afternoon.

A student was keeping it in a backpack before taking it to a veterinarian for a checkup.

Somehow, the snake got loose on the second floor of the University Centre building.

University employees have been combing through rooms and corridors around where the snake disappeared, moving furniture and opening up boxes.

As of Friday afternoon, they had found urine crystals and pieces of dead skin beneath a couch, but the snake itself remained elusive.

Hugues Beaufrere, a veterinarian at the Ontario Veterinary College, says that the animal is “probably scared and hiding,” and could stay in a particularly good hiding place for months.

“It just needs to find a warm environment,” he said in an interview.

“It could be behind the fridge … and it could sit there for a while.”

While social media posts showed people professing fear at the thought of a loose python at the school, students on campus Friday were a little more bemused about the escapee.

“It’s a little snake. It’s probably more afraid of us than we are of it,” said John Lambert.

What has Lambert a little more preoccupied – or at least confused – is why the python’s owner thought bringing it to campus was a good idea in the first place.

“You learn this from a young age – you don’t bring the things you like to school, because you end up losing them every single time,” he said.

With reporting by Nadia Matos