UPDATED: Two N.B. boys killed by python while asleep: RCMP

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The Canadian Press

CAMPBELLTON, N.B. – Two young boys were killed by a python snake as they slept in an apartment above an exotic pet store in northern New Brunswick, the RCMP said Monday.


RCMP work at the scene of a fatal python attack on Monday Aug. 5, 2013 at Reptile Ocean in Campbellton, N.B. 

Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said the boys, aged five and seven, were visiting the apartment of a friend above Reptile Ocean Inc. in Campbellton when the incident occurred.

Rogers-Marsh said police arrived at the apartment around 6:30 a.m., at which point officers found the two dead boys.

“It (the snake) had escaped its enclosure at the store sometime through the night, got into the ventilation system and into the upstairs apartment,” said Rogers-Marsh. “It’s believed the two boys were strangled by the snake.”

She said the snake was later captured and is in the possession of police.

Rogers-Marsh said autopsies were to be performed on the two victims on Tuesday. She couldn’t confirm whether the two boys were related.

She said the owner of the reptile store lived in the apartment above.

Calls to the pet store were not returned on Monday but deputy mayor Ian Comeau said Reptile Ocean was licensed to operate and “everything was according to our bylaws, to the provincial guidelines.”

The deaths of the boys have been “a shock … it is unbelievable,” Comeau said Monday evening.

“Some still don’t believe it,” said Comeau, who toured the shop with the fire department about two years ago.

Firefighters had to “know where these animals were — alligators, crocodiles and snakes,” he said.

“They were there,” he said, adding “I’m not a fan of snakes.”


Organizations: RCMP, Reptile Ocean

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Recent comments

  • noodle
    August 06, 2013 - 19:49

    A 100lb., 15-foot snake crawls through the metal ventilation ducts of a building, its weight causes it to break through through the ceiling of an apartment, falling to the floor, then kills not one but two children, and nobody in the apartment wakes up or hears a thing? Further the snake goes against its most basic survival instincts not to attack anything too large for it to eat and/or large enough to potentially cause it harm - and does this twice. Nothing about this story makes any sense at all.

  • Anne
    August 06, 2013 - 12:00

    My heartfelt condolences to the family. What a tragedy! - I am no snake owner and I never understood why people need to have a "pet snake".... but I am wondering.... when a 100lbs fall from the ceiling, wouldn't that be a noise that would wake up everybody in the house? Wouldn't the boys have screamed for help? As horrible as it would be to imagine but... as we can see on NatGeo strangling takes some time. And I have never heard of a snake that kills 2 victims just to go to sleep. These poor boys!

  • Ann
    August 06, 2013 - 11:59

    I totally agree with Ron and Charles. This type of snakes should be banned in Canada!!! Hopefully, this type of tragedy will be avoided in the future with some strictly enforced bans put in place! My sympathy goes out to the family of the two children.

  • Rob
    August 06, 2013 - 09:17

    On CNN.com, an excerpt from the interview with the owner said that when he went in there was a huge hole in the ceiling where the snake must have fallen through and into the room with the two boys. How can a 100lb snake fall through a ceiling and not be heard? Would that not have woken the children? Would not one of them have screamed to raise alarm? There is something more to this story that is just not fitting. While I have zero use for snakes, I suspect there is some gross negligence at play here. Also, how is it that a commercial occupancy and residential units have a non-separated ventilation system? Should these not be isolated by building code?

  • Norm
    August 06, 2013 - 08:05

    This is so hard to believe. I have raised pythons for nearly 30 years. Snakes usually kept in a pet store are not big enough to harm a child. A snake will not usually bite and constrict a prey item that is too big to swallow. They see something that is too large as harmful to them. If the snake was large enough to injure them, it would probably be too big to get into the ventilation system. I have so many questions that will obviously not be answered because of this investigation.The owner of the reptile store lived in the apartment. I assume he or she was a relative of these children. Someone was negligent here but don't point fingers too much at the snake. Improper enclosures, bad handling and lack of responsibility would be more of the problem here. I send my deepest sympathies to the family this is a horrible tragedy. Calling for a ban on snakes and other reptiles is ridiculous. Dogs cause more injuries than any other animal on the planet but do we ban the complete ownership of dogs? No! It is true that there are regulations on certain breeds of dogs and we in the reptile industry have bans to follow as well. Become educated before calling for bans. If the government bans reptiles then all domesticated animals need to be banned!!!!!

    • Nosey
      August 06, 2013 - 13:30

      Snakes are not domesticated!

  • Ron
    August 06, 2013 - 07:36

    I don't understand what people see in keeping reptiles as pets? I just don't get it. And this isn't the first time a snake has killed children. Snakes along with venomous animals should be banned at the very least. Look at the devastation going on in the Everglades as a result of people abandoning pythons. They are becoming the anaconda of Florida as a result of neglect. These are wild animals that should be left in the wild. Period !

    • Norm
      August 06, 2013 - 08:13

      Once again as in my other post. Please before calling for bans, become educated. - Snakes injuring people is a fraction of the injuries inflicted by dogs. Millions are injured by dogs yearly. Captive snake injuries amount to 1 or 2 a decade. - the bulk of the snakes released into the everglades was due to a hurricane destroying a facility that the animals were housed in. They escaped! It was an act of god! They breed and this causes the population to grow. Large pythons can have anywhere from 6-100 young. - Not all snakes are venomous. There are only a handful of venomous species on the planet. People hear snake and immediately think poisonous. Venomous snakes are not allowed in Canada unless you have special permits. I am sad that these two children have died. This is a horrible tragedy but don't start the ban snakes campaign unless it includes every domestic animal. They are not dangerous unless improperly handled.

  • Charles
    August 05, 2013 - 16:31

    These types of pets should be banned nation wide. And the pet store own held responsible!! My deepest sympathies to the families.