Photo via PAWR. Aug 11, 2020.Photo via PAWR. Aug 11, 2020.

Slithering snake settles in at CK animal shelter

A stray python has been found in Chatham and the local Pet And Wildlife Rescue is looking to return it to its rightful owner.

Benjamin Van Eyk, manager of Animal Control Services, told Blackburn News the two-foot snake was found by a Chatham resident in their shed on Monday and one of his animal control officers picked it up. Van Eyk said it's most likely someone's pet that has escaped or has been abandoned, adding that if someone doesn't have a proper enclosure, snakes can escape by slithering out of small spots.

Van Eyk said it's very rare to find a ball python loose in this area as it's not native to Canada but added animal control does get a few exotic animal calls every year within Chatham-Kent. He said ball pythons are, for the most part, harmless.

"Ball pythons are not venomous, they're mostly docile. The only time they would bite or anything like that is if there's food. So, maybe a deceased mouse if they ate that. If your hand got in the way they might accidentally bite you but they're generally docile and they're good to have as pets," said Van Eyk. "We generally get quite a few exotic animal calls here in Chatham-Kent. I think people would be surprised. We've had African grey parrots in as strays, parakeets in as strays too, we had one other ball python last year, and we've had bearded dragons and stuff like that."

Van Eyk said unfortunately, the rescue shelter also takes in a couple of abandoned animals each year and urges owners to surrender them instead.

"Unfortunately, if [the animal is abandoned] it could cause harm to the animal. So, if no one found it, it could die from the elements. If anyone doesn't want an animal we're always willing to take them in," he added.

The snake will be held for three days and if no owner comes forward, it will be put up for adoption, pending a clean bill of health. No owner had come forward to claim the snake as of late Tuesday afternoon.

The ball python is a species native to West and Central Africa. The nonvenomous constrictor is the smallest of the African pythons, growing to a maximum length of 182 centimetres. The name "ball python" refers to its tendency to curl into a ball when stressed or frightened.

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