Thursday, March 21, 2019 | Updated at 8:30 AM ET


Python Escapes Cage, Kills Brothers Aged 4 and 6 in Canada

First Posted: Aug 08, 2013 07:54 AM EDT

A 16-foot, 100-lb African rock python killed two young boys in Canada after escaping from a cage where it was being kept.

According to a statement from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the python had a floor-to-ceiling cage in the same apartment where Jean-Claude Savoie lived. Noah and Connor Barthe, ages 4 and 6, were visiting Savoie's son and sleeping over for the night. Below the apartment was a family-owned exotic pet store.

Police investigations concluded that the python did not escape from the pet store as speculated earlier. The snake escaped from its glass cage somewhere inside the apartment, slithered through ventilation ducts, and found its way out into the living room where the two Barthe boys were sleeping. Savoie was sleeping in another room.

While python's are known to be non-venomous, they have chemical and heat receptors that help them track their prey. They kill through strangulation.

In a report by USA Today, Savoie told the Global News Television station that he wasn't awakened by any sound while the killings took place. It was only when he walked into the living the room the next morning that he found the bodies of the dead boys in what he describes as a "horrific scene".

Residents of their community were equally shocked with the news.

Authorities said Savoie has had the snake for 10 years; it was euthanized Monday and will undergo necropsy. Though his exotic pet store is registered as a reptile zoo, police say the province does not allow pythons, and Savoie probably does not have the proper permits and authorization to keep the python under his care. City officials are investigating this further.

Experts warn that pythons should not be kept as pets. These carnivores attack their prey by squeezing and strangling them, cutting off their air and blood supply until they are knocked dead. Being one of the largest snakes on earth, python's can grow up to 26 feet long and reach up to 200 pounds.

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