A veterinarian with lots of experience caring for reptiles says it wasn’t a ball python found abandoned in the Chilliwack back country last weekend.
It was actually an albino Burmese python, which could grow up to 18 feet long and weigh as much as 150 lbs.
“They’re not scary. I call them the Great Danes of the snake world,” said Dr. Adrian Walton of the Dewdney Animal Hospital. “Yes, they do grow quite big, but they’re calm.”
Several readers called the Maple Ridge vet to ask about adopting the snake, after the Progress broke the story.
It was transported this week from the Chilliwack SPCA to the Dewdney Animal Hospital.
It arrived emaciated, dehydrated, with some mouth rot and covered with snake mites, but the snake is now safe in a heated cage at Dr. Walton’s hospital facilities, he said.
“This burmese python is quite comfortable now,” Dr. Walton said. “He’s sitting in his water dish.”
“The thing is we can’t just give out this snake for adoption,” he said.
It would require a five-month process through the Ministry of the Environment to adopt him, since the Burmese python species is deemed illegal under the Controlled Alien Species act.
“Any snake with the potential to grow larger than three metres is illegal since they are too difficult to rehome,” he said.
The pet python was found by campers near Chipmunk Creek, off Chilliwack Lake Road, likely when the owner no longer wanted it.
“They probably didn’t have the correct permits so they dumped it off.”
He’s experienced with a range of reptiles. Right now in his office, the team is caring for a giant frog, a gopher snake, three tortoises and a venomous lizard.
This python was the second one found in the Chilliwack area in the past couple of years.
“This is your second illegal snake found in Chilliwack. We had a Reticulated python the last time.”
The vet says he’s rehomed about 18 snakes in the past two years.
So there you have it folks, please don’t release snakes in the back country or anywhere else.
“It would just be easier if they brought them to me directly,” said the vet.