The Georgetown Library was closed for more than two days after staff noticed an odd gathering near one of the building’s basement meeting rooms: snakes. Several of them.
The first sign that something was amiss came Saturday, when a staff member found a live snake in the library, captured it and released it outside.
Hours later, a different library employee spotted two new snakes in the downstairs area of the building.
About 3 p.m., the library called pest control and shut its doors two hours ahead of its scheduled closing time.
Library staff suspect a knot of four snakes were in the building. It’s unclear how long the snakes were there before they were discovered.
Library workers said the creatures were small, likely garter snakes — a species of skinny, harmless snakes common to the region that largely eat bugs, fish and small amphibians.
Not wanting to reopen until the building was snake-free, the library remained closed for two more days — until the pest-control company declared the area clear.
Exterminators distributed snake repellent around the perimeter of the building and sealed off any openings that they believed future scaly visitors could use to slither inside.
Although a thorough investigation of the premises did not yield any live snakes, spokesman George Williams said, the pest-control company discovered one dead snake.
The library reopened Tuesday morning.
The whereabouts of the other snakes are unknown.
“I’ve been here 10 years, and this is the first time that I’ve heard of snakes entering the building,” Williams said.
It’s unlikely the snakes were looking for a quiet corner to do some reading.
Wet weather in the Washington region has driven up the number of recent snake sightings inside homes, cars and, yes, libraries.
Last month, a Virginia woman reported watching in horror as a snake slithered out of her car’s air vent while she was on her lunch break.
The woman eventually trapped the snake, which was lost in her car overnight, using a glue trap.
In Laurel, the police department has taken to posting photos of its encounters of the serpent kind.
One of its officers helped remove a baby Maryland brown snake that was found hiding under a bucket in a family’s living room. The officer took the snake to Riverfront Park, where it was released into the wild. A week later, that same officer helped a family that found a snake near their home. The officer posed for photos with the captured creature wrapped around his wrist.
In late June, a different Laurel police officer captured a “cold-blooded bandit” that was sitting near the front door of a woman’s home, trapping her inside. The culprit was a rat snake, which are harmless and, the police department added, “likely don’t want to eat you.”
In a Facebook post, police warned, “because of recent storms, keep an eye out for small creatures looking for a dry place to hide them from the rain.”