Pub­lic asked to keep watch for es­caped python

Snake will likely show it­self to warm up and feed

Times Colonist - - The Capital And Vancouver Island - DAR­RON KLOSTER and JEFF BELL dkloster@times­colonist.com jw­bell@times­colonist.com

An es­caped ball python that’s been on the loose in Victoria for a month will even­tu­ally show it­self, ei­ther to sun it­self or feed, says the man­ager of An­i­mal Con­trol Ser­vices.

Ian Fraser and his team are ready to an­swer the call to capture the four-foot­long, non-ven­emous snake, which went miss­ing July 2 but wasn’t re­ported to po­lice un­til Tues­day.

Victoria po­lice have is­sued a warn­ing about the ball python, which dis­ap­peared in the vicin­ity of the 200 block of Bay Street, near the Gal­lop­ing Goose Regional Trail.

Fraser said miss­ing snakes are not un­usual for an­i­mal con­trol.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion gets sev­eral calls for loose snakes, and they even­tu­ally find most of them.

He said the snakes may stay hid­den in a cool dark place, but be­cause they are cold­blooded crea­tures they will come out to warm their bod­ies on a rock, as­phalt or piece of con­crete.

They also need to hunt, said Fraser, and will likely look for mice or rats to ease their hunger.

“They can be any­where, so we can’t re­ally go out look­ing,” he said. “We’ll wait for some­one to call and then go get it.”

Fraser has been in­volved in sev­eral snake cap­tures over the years, in­clud­ing a large corn snake in a sewer line that was even­tu­ally cap­tured us­ing dead mice as bait.

Fraser also cap­tured another large pet snake near the Jan­ion Ho­tel build­ing sev­eral years ago. It es­caped weeks be­fore and there were con­tin­ued sight­ings in a nearby gro­cery mar­ket and a flower shop be­fore it ap­peared on a rock amid black­berry bushes near the John­son Street Bridge.

“They even­tu­ally show them­selves,” Fraser said.

He said con­stric­tor snakes kill their prey by squeez­ing. “When the prey ex­hales, the snake tight­ens up,” he said.

Fraser said the miss­ing ball python isn’t that big and will likely stick to mice for food. “It might be able to kill a kit­ten,” he said. “But not a chihuahua. It’s not that big of a snake.”

Po­lice ask any­one who seeks the python to call 911. If you have any ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion, call the non-emer­gency line at 250-995-7654.

VIA AN­I­MAL CON­TROL SER­VICES

A pet ball python has been miss­ing since July 2. It was last seen in the vicin­ity of Bay Street near the Gal­lop­ing Goose trail.

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