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Python Suspected in Deaths of 2 Boys

Posted: Aug. 6, 2013, 12:15 p.m. EDT

An African rock python escaped from its cage in a New Brunswick, Canada, pet shop and slithered into the store owner’s upstairs apartment, where it strangled two young boys, according to media reports.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is investigating the deaths, which are believed to have occurred Sunday night or early Monday.

Police did not identify the snake species or size, but the National Post reported the animal is an African rock python, which may grow up to 20 feet long in the wild and consume prey as large as antelope.

 Reptile Ocean
Reptile Ocean is an exotic pet store in Campbellton, New Brunswick.
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African rock python
African rock pythons are nonvenomous snakes native to Sub-Saharan Africa.
A preliminary investigation found that the snake escaped from Reptile Ocean "sometime overnight and got into the ventilation system, then into the upstairs apartment,” said Constable Jullie Rogers-Marsh of the New Brunswick division of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

"It's believed the two boys were strangled by the snake,” which was captured, she added.

The boys, ages 5 and 7, were brothers attending a sleepover in the town of Campbellton, the National Post stated.

Reptile Ocean’s owner, Jean-Claude Savoie, told Global News that he was "in shock” and "I don’t know what to think.”

"I thought they were sleeping until I [saw] the hole in the ceiling,” he added. "I turned the lights on and I [saw] this horrific scene.”

Reptile Ocean was visited in 1996 by representatives of the animal protection charity Zoocheck Canada and the World Society for the Protection of Animals, both out of Toronto. Their report, "Zoos in Maritime Canada,” listed a wide range of animals kept in the store, including an American alligator, caiman, Nile monitor, piranha, Indian python, and green and yellow anacondas.

The store received a generally positive review. "All the reptiles seen appeared to be in good health,” the report disclosed, and "there was protective glass partitions between the public and the exhibits.”


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Python Suspected in Deaths of 2 Boys

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Reader Comments
I am always a little suspicious about these big snake stories. If there wasn't such a hard hitting, rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth group that HATES for people to "own" animals, (such as the Humane Society which is wreaking havoc with American USFW causing all kinds of problems for dedicated herpers,) then maybe I could believe such a story. A 14' 100lb. snake would have some difficulty taking down 2 children of their size. I have had big snakes for many, many years and know the eating habits quite well. I had a similar size snake escape once in my store. It completely cruised by the guinea pigs and rabbits and went and hid in a closet. This story just does not sound right. I would wait for the autopsy report before I pass judgement.
clumpy, Houston, TX
Posted: 8/9/2013 8:40:44 AM
This is a sad commentary on what can happen when animals that are meant to live in the wild are forced to share space with humans. Some people are just too stupid to understand they should leave wild things wild. There are plenty of domestic animals to enjoy without risking innocent human life.
Iva, Boston, MA
Posted: 8/9/2013 6:22:40 AM
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