An escaped pet store python made his way into the apartment above the store in Canada yesterday and, horrifyingly, strangled two young brothers, ages 5 and 7, in their sleep. Apparently, the snake came through the ventilation system and another adult in the home somehow managed to escape unscathed. Tragically, the boys weren't as lucky.
This story is horrifying on so many levels. Police say the pet store in Canada was fully licensed and allowed to carry the python, so that was all legal. Additionally, the owner did live in the apartment, so it's presumed that he knew the boys and is feeling this tragedy acutely.
The snake in question is a 14- to 16-foot African rock python that even its owner said was "vicious" and was rarely handled. Still, he had the snake for 10 years without incident. So why now?
Canadian officials are calling the crime "unusual," though bizarrely, this isn't the only escaped python story in the news today. In Florida, last weekend, a 14-foot python (also an escaped pet) was found in a shed where it was eating a cat skull.
Lucky for Florida, only cats and rabbits were missing from homes around the area, but here's a thought: Maybe a python makes a bad pet? How hard is that to realize?
The reality is, we aren't allowed to have monkeys or tigers or other wild animals, in part because they carry disease, but also because they are unpredictable and dangerous. A wild animal isn't meant to be a "pet." Had this pet store not carried a "vicious" python, these boys would still be safe in their beds and would likely never encounter a snake that is native to Africa.
A snake can't escape a locked cage. A person is responsible for this and I sure hope they figure it out. This tragedy shouldn't go unpunished.
Do you think people should have snakes like this as pets?
Image via Squamata55/Flickr