- Reptile Conservation Resources, Inc

Interesting news from Toronto with a happy ending:

National Post

Friday, December 12, 2008

Man finds 3.5-foot python living in kitchen

Snake believed to have been in apartment for six months

Kate Scroggins,  National Post  Published: Friday, December 12, 2008

A Collingwood man used his hand, and help from an apartment building manager, to yank a 3½-foot-long ball python out of its hiding place in his kitchen.

The resident had returned home for lunch on Tuesday and found the ball python in his kitchen, digging into his cat’s midday meal. The reptile, believed to have been holed up in the apartment for almost six months, had cornered the shaking feline after an alleged dispute over the pet food.

Jon Wall, manager of the Oak Street low-rise apartment building, said by the time he responded to the tenant’s nervous call, the python had wedged itself into a hole in the wall near the stove. “I was more shocked than anything. I just thought this ain’t real. This isn’t possible. But ya, it was a good size,” he said.

Ball pythons aren’t poisonous. As their name suggests, they tend to curl into a tight ball when threatened. They wouldn’t harm an adult, but could hurt an infant or small animal.

Mr. Wall said despite being visibly scared, the tenant had managed to wrap his gloved hand around the python’s slippery torso to try and yank it out of the wall.

In defence, the snake curled up, squeezed the resident’s wrist and pulled him towards the opening. Mr. Wall then grabbed the tenant’s shoulders and the two men pulled the serpent out of its hiding place. “We were, the two of us, totally exhausted. But a couple minutes later, I turned around and the thing was standing straight up in the garbage bag,” he said. “But we were able to get it back down.”

Mr. Wall waited with the python until the Collingwood police arrived. He poked air holes in the bag so the snake wouldn’t suffocate. It is believed that the snake belonged to a neighbour who moved out nearly six months ago. It has likely been hiding behind the stove ever since.

The Collingwood police gave the python, which they initially thought to be a boa constrictor, to the Barrie chapter of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who said the snake seemed cold and a little shaken up, but generally unharmed.

Ball pythons, which originate in Africa, are known to be picky eaters. They feed mainly on small mammals and birds, and can go for months without eating. The snake is now in foster care with a reptile specialist, who has named it Kringle in honour of the holiday season.

OSPCA spokeswoman Alison Cross admitted the case was unusual.

“It’s the first [snake] I’ve heard of. But we often take in exotic animals. Usually, it’s a case of abandonment. People don’t realize how much care is involved and then they leave them,” she said.

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