The large African rock python that escaped from its cage and killed two Canadian boys was euthanized Tuesday, the New York Daily News reported Wednesday.
There has been outrage on both sides. Some who have an affinity for snakes have picked apart news stories for details on why the pet would strangle Noah Barthe, 4, and Connor Barthe, 6, as they slept. It turns out the boys had been around farm animals during the day, which could be why the reptile attacked.
It was first inaccurately reported that the snake escaped from the pet store Reptile Ocean below the apartment where the boys slept, but according to ABC News, the slithering creature escaped from an enclosure that was housed in the apartment.
Jean-Claude Savoie, the owner of the store and family friend of the boys, does not know how the python got out of its cage. “I thought [the snakes] were sleeping until I [saw] the hole in the ceiling. I turned the lights on and I [saw] this horrific scene,” he said. “It’s ridiculous. I can’t believe this is real.”
According to the Daily News, the boys’ great-uncle, Dave Rose, verified that they had played with goats, llamas, horses and dogs on Savoie’s farm before they slept in his apartment on top of the pet store.
Reptile expert Paul Goulet said that if the snaked smelled animals on the boys it would be inclined to attack them. “If a snake sees an animal moving, giving off heat and smells like a goat, what is it? It’s a goat,” Goulet told the Associated Press.
Noah and Connor were no strangers to dealing with large slithery creatures. Facebook photos of the boys cleaning a cage with another unidentified child surfaced. In the photo they seemed to be happily scrubbing a large glass enclosure in the Campbellton, New Brunswick, pet store that is owned by their father’s friend Savoie.
They stayed at his apartment, which is above Reptile Ocean, on the night the 100-pound killer serpent asphyxiated them both, New York Daily News wrote.
Now the United States is questioning whether African rock pythons should be kept as legal pets. "The tragic death of these two young children once again illustrates that these powerful wild animals belong in their native countries, not in private hands in the United States," the Humane Society of the United States said. "Private ownership of large constricting snakes almost never turns out well for these animals, it puts people at risk, and it threatens our natural resources and native wildlife species.”