Now they know.
An elusive black snake that was first spotted in the Madison County Circuit Clerk's office Monday evening has been removed from the building.
Deputy Circuit Clerk Judy Nelson said the snake, species not identified, was captured by a county Animal Control worker at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, then released 10 blocks from the courthouse.
The reptile, which was originally reported as approximately four feet-long, had been spotted Monday night underneath a probate clerk's desk by a cleaning crew member.
"The cleaning people called 911," Nelson said. "But no one came."
Missy Epps, who occupied the desk where the snake was observed, had said the worst thing about the incident was not knowing where the snake was.
Nelson said the snake, after capture, appeared to be more like two-to-three feet long.
Sheriff's deputies were prepared to capture the snake using glue traps.
A report about the incident caught the attention of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Martin Mersereau, director of PETA's Cruelty Casework Division, contacted the Record after a story ran on Tuesday.
He urged employees at the courthouse in a letter to the editor, "to extend justice to the snake..."
Mersereau said it was "terrific news" that the snake had been captured and released.
He indicated his organization keeps watch over media accounts of animal suffering.
Capturing animals with glue traps is "extremely cruel," he said, as well as ineffective when unwelcome animals are persistent.