Python escapes from Canadian pet store and kills two young brothers as they sleep

Snake got out of enclosure at a pet store before slithering through a ventilation system and into an upstairs apartment

A large snake has escaped from a pet shop in Canada and killed two boys sleeping nearby, police said.

The python was able to get out of its enclosure and slither up into the ventilation system of Reptile Ocean Inc. in Campbellton, New Brunswick. Brothers Noah Barthe, 5, and Connor Barthe, 7, were sleeping over at their friend’s apartment above the shop.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they arrived at the building at around 6:30am to find the two boys dead, while their friend was unharmed in another room. Police spokeswoman Const. Julie Rogers-Marsh said the apartment belonged to the owner of the pet shop.

Police said they believed the snake was able to travel through the building using a system of vents, though they did not explain how it escaped its enclosure.

“It's believed the two boys were strangled by the snake,” Const. Rogers-Marsh said.

A statement from the police said that they had captured the reptile, initially thought to be a boa constrictor but later identified as an African rock python, and that it was in their possession.

The victims, who will undergo post mortem examinations today, were reported by local media to be brothers, though police could not confirm they were related.

Const. Rogers-Marsh said: “It's very unusual and very tragic and difficult for everyone involved.”

The town's 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” and “unbelievable”, Mr Comeau said on Monday evening. He said he had been on a tour of the shop two years ago with the fire department, and seen they had alligators and crocodiles as well as snakes.

Connor and Noah Barthe were at a friend's home Connor and Noah Barthe were at a friend's home  

The BBC reported that Reptile Ocean posted a Facebook message saying: “Deepest sympathies go out to the family of the children. A terrible accident without a meaning.”

The store then said it would temporarily suspend the online account because users were posting “demeaning comments”.

David Rogrigue, director of Montreal's Ecomuseum Zoo, told the Agence France-Presse news agency that this attack was “difficult to believe... very, very extraordinary, and very improbable”.

But in Mark O’Shea’s 2007 book Boas and Pythons of the World, the African rock python is described as the continent’s largest snake, Africa’s “giant” equivalent to the anaconda.

They have been confirmed to reach lengths of up to 7.5m (25ft), and Mr O’Shea said: “These are often bad-tempered snakes and large examples not only have the capability of easily killing an adult human but there are also several well-documented cases of their eating people.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Corporate Tax Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL ...

Relationship Manager

£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Relationship Manager, London, Banking, Accountant...

Marketing & PR Assistant - NW London

£15 - £17 per hour: Ashdown Group: Marketing & PR Assistant - Kentish Town are...

Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer

£250 - £300 per day: Orgtel: Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer Berkshir...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home