Little more than a week after a giant python crushed two young Canadian boys to death, police have recovered 40 of the snakes from a hotel room.
The reptiles were found in several plastic storage bins on Thursday night in a room in Brantford, Ontario, where a couple who had been evicted from their home were staying, police said in a statement.
Officers have opened a probe into the incident but they did not say where the couple were at the time or whether the pair would be charged with breaking local laws that prohibit owning pythons.
The snakes, which ranged in length from 30 centimetres to 1.4 metres, were in poor health and have been taken in by the Canadian Society for the Protection of Animals, where a veterinarian is monitoring them.
The find comes 11 days after Connor and Noah Barthe, aged six and four respectively, died in the eastern town of Campbellton, New Brunswick when an African python escaped from its terrarium and killed them.
The boys had been enjoying a sleepover with a friend, whose father’s private menagerie of exotic animals included the python.
Animal experts expressed astonishment at the tragedy, many of them noting that, while an African rock python is a dangerous animal capable of killing large prey, it would not normally attack humans.
The initial police investigation found that the snake probably managed to break out of its terrarium and then nosed through a ventilation duct which led into the boys’ bedroom.