MISSION, B.C. – British Columbia is the latest province with a snake problem as officers discovered and euthanized nearly 50 illegal pythons in a small town home.
Insp. Chris Doyle of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service said they were called to a house in Mission, B.C., on Thursday while the tenant who owned the snakes was being evicted.
Officers discovered 46 reticulated pythons which are prohibited under the province’s Wildlife Act without a permit — the longest snake was just over four metres in length.
Doyle said nobody had a permit at the house, which is located in a residential area within a couple blocks of a school.
The report came in the same day that 40 pythons were seized at a Brantford, Ont., motel room.
Earlier this month, two young brothers were killed while sleeping at a friend’s house in Campbellton, N.B., by an illegal African rock python that had escaped from its enclosure.
“Those snakes are a public safety risk,” Doyle said about the reticulated pythons found in Mission.
Doyle said officers found a number of other snakes and a monitor lizard that didn’t fall under the province’s controlled alien species regulation, as well as some restricted species like boas and other kinds of pythons.
Restricted species only become prohibited once they grow beyond a certain length.
“Some species of pythons aren’t ever restricted or prohibited because they don’t grow large,” Doyle said.
Monitors are among the biggest lizards on the planet and some species are prohibited, though Doyle said the kind they discovered wasn’t illegal.
Doyle said that although no venomous snakes were discovered, “you do have to be concerned of being bitten by any snake for risk of infection plus the injury itself.”
In Brantford, a neighbour said Saturday that the owners of the pythons seized at a motel was trying to sell the snakes before moving to Calgary after being evicted from their home.
Natachia Lindsay says she has handled and fed the collection of snakes, worth about $900, adding they were very well kept for, none of them had ever bitten her and her step-brother had bought one of the pythons from the family.
The reptiles — ranging in length from 30 centimetres to 1.4 metres — were found in several plastic storage bins in the motel room and the Brantford SPCA confirmed they had been taken to a reptile aquarium in another area of the province.