SPOKANE, Wash – Two boys in New Brunswick, Canada, were sleeping over at a friend's house when a 100-pound African Rock Python strangled them; and making an already tragic story even worse? It could have been prevented.
It happened at an apartment over a pet store, and Canadian authorities reported the snake was being kept inside the apartment in a glass enclosure that reached the ceiling. It was able to get out through a hole in the ceiling, went through a ventilation pipe and crashed into the living room where the boys were.
Sadly, if the snake had been kept in a locked enclosure, it may never have happened.
You may be surprised to hear Washington law doesn't say much about constrictor snakes.
"The state law regulates reptiles, primarily venomous snakes and crocodiles, alligators and that family, they do not regulate the constructor snake," SCRAPS director Nancy Hill explained.
Spokane City code also regulates "inherently dangerous reptiles," but it runs along the same line as state law, and says nothing about boas or pythons, which squeeze their food to the point of suffocation.
However, the cold Washington climate doesn't lend to such snakes surviving outdoors, so the only place you're likely to see them is in a pet store or zoo – behind a lock.
A criminal investigation has been launched into the two deaths in Canada.