A pair of venomous vipers were euthanized after they were found living as pets in a South Langley home on Monday.
The discovery of the snakes was apparently sparked by some form of landlord-tenant issue in the home around 248th Street and 24th Avenue. The home had two families living in separate areas of the same house.
The SPCA was called in first, and they alerted the BC Conservation Officers Service, which deals with exotic and wild animals.
With a tentative identification the snakes as ones with potent venom, the officers secured the home and, with a vet, verified that they had found a Nieuwied's lance head viper, from South America, and a Mexican cantil viper, said Insp. Chris Doyle of the Conservation Officers.
"They're venomous enough that if they were to bite a person, they could cause significant injury or death," said Doyle.
The officers believed there was a risk that the snakes could escape or be abandoned,
which made them a threat to the public.
In British Columbia, there is only one reptile shelter with the permits to take such snakes, said Doyle.
"They were not in a position to take these snakes," he said.
The snakes were euthanized.
Dealing with venomous snakes like this can pose a risk for wildlife officers, said Doyle, but in this case everything went safely and no one was bitten.
The investigation into the owner of the snakes will continue, and the Conservation Officers want to know, among other things, where the snakes came from and how they were shipped within or into Canada.
There may be charges laid under the Controlled Alien Species regulations of the Wildlife Act, said Doyle. Many snakes and reptiles are illegal to possess under the recent legislation.
The investigators will give their recommendations to Crown prosecutors once they've wrapped up their investigation.
Earlier this week, Conservation Officers seized almost 50 pythons from a Mission home, out of a total collection of about 100.
There were 46 reticulated pythons, with six of those quite large, including one just over 14 feet long.
Approximately another 50 snakes in the home were not prohibited but were restricted under the Wildlife Act.
The snakes were discovered by the property owner and apparently belonged to a tennant. Also this month, police found 40 snakes in a hotel room in Brantford, Ont.
At the beginning of August, two young boys were apparently killed by a rock python that escaped from a pet store in Campbellton, N.B.
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