Ball python missing again, this time in Saanich

A wayward ball python found after being missing for weeks is again on the loose, this time in Saanich.

The 1.4-metre snake originally disappeared July 2 near the Bay Street bridge after escaping from its owner’s backpack. It wasn’t reported missing to Victoria police until Aug. 4.

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The snake turned up Aug. 12 on Richardson Street about four kilometres away from where it went missing, where it was holed up beneath a vehicle.

Ian Fraser, Victoria’s animal control officer, said the snake was in good health when it was found. He said it likely got as far as it did by slithering into a car.

That is just what happened in another case of a missing snake in Victoria, he said, with the snake appearing from the dashboard while the car was being driven.

The latest escape was reported Wednesday, with the snake last seen in the Marigold area.

Saanich police said the snake’s owner was in the 800-block of Snowdrop Avenue when the snake once again got out of the backpack.

“It’s gone slithering walkabout again,” said Saanich police Staff Sgt. Chris Horsley.

He said the creature is clearly being kept in a backpack, “so we’ll certainly be looking at the manner in which the snake is being cared for” to make sure it is appropriate.

Fraser questioned the way the snake is being kept.

“It would appear to me that the owner is not very responsible in maintaining care and control of the snake.”

He said most people who keep snakes will have them in a glass tank with a locking or heavily weighted lid.

Fraser said that if the snake were to escape again, the owner would have to pay some fees and be given a $125 ticket.

Police said ball pythons are not venomous, but the public should be cautious if they see it. They are the smallest of the African pythons, and are so named because they tend to go into a ball when under stress.

People could be quite surprised if they come across the snake, Horsley said.

“It would certainly alarm someone, especially someone who’s not comfortable around snakes,” he said. “Usually they usually favour the tall grass areas.”

Snakes like heat, Horsley said, noting that the weather has been a bit cooler lately.

“We want to ensure that the snake is safe. It’s probably gone somewhere for warmth.”

The snake is likely still in the area where it was lost because ball pythons are not very active, Horsley said.

“They don’t eat that often, either, so it’s not like they have to eat daily.”

Anyone who spots the snake is asked to call Saanich police right away at 240-475-4321.

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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