Seven-foot boa constrictor briefly on the loose in a Fraser Valley neighbourhood

Nearby residents warned ‘Copper’ was missing but was quickly found in a bucket

Residents of a Chilliwack neighbourhood were briefly on the lookout for a pet who got away from its owner last Friday.

Copper, a seven-foot boa constrictor, was apparently having some outside time with its owner when it just slithered away and couldn’t be found.

Neighbours of the home where Copper lived were told that the peach-coloured snake was on the loose and was most likely in their townhouse complex east of the downtown area.

“It was the house right beside the complex I live in,” Susan Hunt said in a Facebook comment in response to a question about Copper. “It wasn’t loose for very long, but was thought to be loose in our complex, which caused panic among some owners here (my daughter included)!”

Apparently, the owner put out the word that the snake was missing. Soon after, he or she was found in a bucket in their yard.

“Super cute snake and very friendly,” Amanda Adams commented.

Boa constrictors are not dangerous to humans, even if unexpectedly spotting one in the backyard might make for a shocking experience.

The species is, however, on the list of controlled alien species as a “restricted” reptile. All boa constrictors are on that list, Copper included. If Copper, however, grew another two feet or so, he or she would fall into another category.

The reptile restriction category refers to snakes under three metres in length. Beyond that puts them into the “prohibited” category meaning owning one requires a permit to possess, breed, ship or transport in B.C.

Under the Wildlife Act, the Controlled Alien Species Regulation – which was passed in 2009 after a woman was killed by her boyfriend’s pet tiger – it is a violation to allow a snake to get loose.

• READ MORE: Ban drives exotic pet showmen snaky

“A person must not release a restricted species individual or prohibited species individual or allow a restricted species individual or prohibited species individual to be released, or to escape.”

The punishment? Penalties associated with breeding or releasing for a first-time offender are one of the following: Fines ranging from $2,500 to a maximum of $250,000; a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years.

The B.C. government designated approximately 1,200 species of animals as controlled alien species in the regulation. The list contains hundreds of animals, including poison dart frogs, giraffes, hyenas, howler monkeys, crocodiles, and a long list of snakes.

The BC SPCA, for its part, has a broad opposition to breeding and keeping exotic or wild animals at all. There are a number of reasons why, including that many are acquired for status and owners do not have consideration for specialized needs. There is also the fact that few veterinarians possess the training and experience to deal with needs of exotics.

One of the main concerns is the reality that because exotic animals are often obtained for status or the “cool” factor, some exotics become unwanted after the novelty wears off.

“The result is poor animal welfare, a high rate of euthanasia, and widespread abandonment of these animals,” according to the BC SPCA. “The Humane Society of the United States estimates that in the United States alone, 90 per cent of exotic pets die ‘within the first two years of captivity.’”


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Nature provides practice space for North Delta musician

Terry Lee has become a fixture over the years playing his cornet in and near the Delta Nature Reserve

Surrey Mountie won’t face charges for scooter scuffle

The Surrey-based IIO has decided not to forward the case to Crown counsel for review

High-risk sex offender released into Surrey

Earon Wayne Giles, a Newton “tag-team rapist,” was released from prison Friday and is now living in Surrey

Pedestrian seriously injured in Surrey traffic crash

A 54-year-old man was hit by a car early Thursday evening while crossing Highway 10 at 152nd Street

BC Hydro replacing hundreds of old power poles in Surrey

More than 10 per cent of BC Hydro poles are at least 50 years old

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

Burnaby facility to dispose of 1,500 tonnes of Canada’s trash from Philippines

All 103 containers will be disposed of properly within Canada before the end of the summer

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Man wants guilty plea revoked in 2012 collision in Abbotsford that killed Chilliwack woman

Michael Larocque was charged in relation to crash that killed Eileen Kleinfelder

North Delta happenings: week of May 23

Events and community listings for North Delta

Vancouver woman sexually assaulted after man follows her home; suspect at large

Police are looking for an Asian man in his 40s after the incident on Vancouver’s east side.

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

UPDATE: Vancouver man dies after crash between motorcycle, transport truck

Police believe speed was a factor in Thursday collision

Trial slated to start Monday for accused killer of Abbotsford cop

Oscar Arfmann faces first-degree murder for death of Const. John Davidson

Most Read