Calgary zoo search team finds two missing serpents
CALGARY (CP) — The saga of the snakes down the drain had a happy ending at the Calgary Zoo, Thursday.
The two large serpents were found just below the drain where they made their escape a day earlier, slithering into an opening left uncovered by a keeper who was draining a pool.
The Malagasy Giant Hognose snakes, siblings named Maddie and Oscar, were being checked out by zoo veterinarians after their night on the lam.
Keeper Garth Irvine admitted at a news conference earlier in the day that he forgot to replace the drain’s cover after discovering there was no hot water to refill the pool.
He said he left the pool with a 90kilogram snake that was far too big to fit down the drain sitting on top of it.
When he returned several hours later the massive serpent had moved away and the two smaller snakes were gone.
Keepers removed two other snakes in the enclosure small enough to fit down the drain and left it open in the hopes the two snakes, which are native to Madagascar, would return seeking warmth.
Zoo officials then called in the city of Calgary to make sure the lost serpents couldn’t slither their way into the sewer system, and were assured that the pair would be killed if they made it to the pumping station that connects the building’s pipes to the outside.
Zoo conservation director Cathy Gaviller said a team of six people was searching the building’s 275 metres of pipes with long, flexible flashlights hoping to spot the missing snakes.
The snakes’ escape is just the latest in a series of high profile animal deaths and mishaps at the zoo.
A Madagascar Giant Hognose snake is shown in a 2004 handout photo. Two snakes which went missing at the Calgary Zoo after slithering down a drain in their enclosure have been found.