Escaped python kills two kids in New Brunswick 0
Noah Barthe, 5, left, and Connor Barthe, 7, right, with their mother, Mandy Trecartin. Noah and Connor were killed by an African rock python. (Facebook)
CAMPBELLTON, N.B. -- Two young brothers who were at a sleepover in an apartment above an exotic pet store in Campbellton, N.B., were killed by a large African python that got loose early Monday.
The python escaped from the Reptile Ocean exotic pet store and strangled the children, Connor Barthe, 5, and his brother Noah, 7, who were found at 6:30 a.m. by an apartment resident who called 911.
According to the RCMP, the snake escaped and slithered through the ventilation system to the upstairs residence where the children had spent the night. They were at a sleepover with their friend, the son of the exotic pet store owner.
The snake, said to be up to 15 feet long and weighing 100 pounds, has been captured and in possession of the RCMP, who believe it escaped from its enclosure overnight.
"These are very, very large snakes," snake expert Michel Leblanc said in a telephone interview. "It is rather odd ... because usually the snakes feed on rabbits, for example.
"Generally, it will only attack something he can swallow. It will not kill for nothing."
Leblanc is baffled how the snake was able to kill both boys.
Neighbours are shocked by the deaths and can't understand how it could happen.
"It's amazing," said one woman. "But on the other hand, there certainly was negligence somewhere for a snake to be found in a room where there are children.
"There is someone, somewhere, who wasn't responsible."
It is not known if criminal charges will be laid.
Well before the tragedy, an online petition was asking for Reptile Ocean to be shut down.
On thepetitionsite.com, the page's administrator wrote: "The way his animals are treated is not right , And i will fight against them till something is done, Sick animals should not be around healthy ones. They should not even be up for adoption. I am disgusted by that place and will no longer step a feet in there ever again."
On its Facebook page, Reptile Ocean describes itself as an "Exotic pet store open to the public for purchase and viewing! wonderful animals. fun for everyone."
Responding to a post by Reptile Ocean on Saturday that read "sharing is caring," one visitor to the page commented: "You know what ISNT caring...have your snakes escape and then kill some children."
Autopsies will be performed on the two boys Tuesday in Saint John, N.B.