(main picture is of a Gabon Viper) Police say that on Saturday night, at about 7:00 pm, a residence in the area of Hansler Road and Highway 20 in Thorold was broken into and a number of venomous snakes were stolen. Police believe the residence was specifically targeted, and that the suspect(s) had information that snakes were kept and bred at the premise for reptile e-commerce.
Stolen snakes include several juvenile cobra species, rattlesnakes, adders and vipers, and a pregnant albino boa. The stolen snakes range in size from 12 to 106 centimeters. The Boa Constrictor, a non-venomous snake, is 200 centimeters in length and weighs about 7 kilograms. (Below a pregnant Gravid)
Cobras belong to a sub-group of snakes known as elapids. An elapid’s (cobra) venom contains postsynaptic neurotoxins that spread rapidly in its victim’s bloodstream, causing respiratory failure and, eventually, death. Information available on-line at www.cobras.org advises that baby cobras have full strength venom and can defend themselves exactly like their parents. (Below a Puff Adder)
It does not appear that there are any special provincial or municipal licensing provisions required for those persons that are involved in reptile e-commerce. Although the City of Thorold has a By-Law (No. 100-2011) respecting the care and control of animals in the city of Thorold, Schedule “B” of the By-Law as identified on the city’s web site does not identify any “Prohibited Animals.” (Below, a Het Monocled Cobra)
Police are asking that any member of the public who has information about the location of these reptiles to appreciate the risk of serious injury these creatures pose, even to persons trained to safely handle them.
Anyone having information about this matter is requested to call the 3 District Detective Office at (905) 688-4111 extension 3320.
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