BRANTFORD, Ont. – Police say there were children in a southern Ontario motel room where officers seized 40 pythons.
A guest in a neighbouring room at the Brantford, Ont., motel said Friday the residents had five young children with them.
The motel guest, who did not want to give his name, said one of the children was a baby.
The reptiles — ranging in length from 30 centimetres to 1.4 metres — were found in several plastic storage bins in the motel room on Thursday night, police said.
“The snakes were not being suitably cared for and were in distress,” police said Friday.
Owning a python is illegal in Brantford as it contravenes the city’s animal country bylaw.
No charges had been laid by Friday evening, said Brantford police, who did not specify ages of the children.
Officers were still investigating, along with the Brant County SPCA, police said.
The snakes belonged to a local couple who stayed at the room for only one night, a manager at the Bell City Motel said Friday.
The couple were out Thursday evening when police arrived, said the manager who asked that his name not be used.
The owners had been evicted by their landlord, he said, who had subsequently called police to inform them the snakes were at the motel.
The snakes were taken to a veterinarian and are expected to be fine, police said.
A spokesman for the Brant County SPCA said the snakes were ball pythons.
The ball python is the smallest of the African pythons and is popular among pet owners because of its docile temperament.
Ball pythons got their name because they roll themselves into a tight ball, tucking their head inside their coils, when threatened.
The same night the snakes were seized in Brantford, another ball python was captured in Hamilton after police say a citizen flagged them down.
The metre-long snake was spotted in some bushes, they said, and was recovered by animal control officers.
Earlier this month, two young brothers were strangled by a python while sleeping at a friend’s house in Campbellton, N.B.
Noah Barthe, 4, and his brother Connor, 6, were killed after a 45-kg African rock python escaped its enclosure.
The Ontario government announced this week it was looking into rules covering exotic animals in the wake of the New Brunswick deaths.