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Canada is a bigger threat to exotic animals than they are to us

The deaths of two young boys in New Brunswick last summer, both killed by an escaped African rock python, alerted the country to the potential dangers of exotic pets.

But is there really such a threat in famously frigid Canada of encountering somebody’s dangerous exotic pet?

It appears to depend on where you live, but generally, it seems that Canada poses a far bigger threat to unusual pets than they do to us.

“Fortunately (in Alberta) we haven’t had too many issues with exotics getting into the wild,” Paul Dunford, an Alberta conservation officer, told Metro, noting the province does have a detailed action plan to handle similar situations.

He said dangerous animals imported from sunnier locales, such as tropical snakes, would probably only survive during the summer months and wouldn’t “last long when the temperature gets colder.”

Last July, a six-foot, 15-pound albino Burmese python was discovered emaciated and dehydrated in a wooded area near Chilliwack, B.C., according to media reports.

The snake, which was brought to and treated at a Maple Ridge veterinarian clinic, did not fare well in the wild even in the relatively mild climate B.C.'s Lower Mainland.

So one can imagine how poorly an imported snake would fare in significantly colder locales on the prairies.

In any case, Dunford said, the imported animals that we should worry about more are notoriously invasive species such as certain fish including the Asian carp.

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