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The snake, believed to be a boa or bull constrictor, was found in a school playground in the city's east end early Tuesday. (Toronto Police)

Students were headed for a back-to-school surprise Tuesday morning after police discovered a one-metre-long snake in a school playground in Toronto's east end.

Responding to a call in the early morning hours at Port Royal Public School in Scarborough, police found the snake slithering in the school's playground.

Police captured the creature using a pillowcase borrowed from a nearby home before turning the serpent over to the care of the city’s animal services department.

The discovery was made hours before students were due to arrive for the first day of classes, but the discovery prompted Const. Stephane St. George to issue the following message on Twitter:

"Pets are a responsibility. Prevent lost or escaped pets and contact the right agencies for unwanted pets."