'Massive bloody snake' back home safe after frightening Toronto family
A neighbouring family was not amused after a two-metre-long boa constrictor and iguana went on the lam this past weekend near Yonge and St. Clair.
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The welcome home party for a Toronto resident this past weekend included an unexpected guest: a two-metre, red-tailed boa constrictor.
The animal made the space its new habitat for at least two days, said Jack Rodrigues, who lives in the Yonge St. and St. Clair Ave. area.
“I’m washing the patio and all of a sudden, I move this one pot and there’s this massive, bloody snake,” he said. “When I saw it I knew it wasn’t a typical garter snake.”
It was initially found Saturday by a housekeeper who was tending the residence while Rodrigues and his wife were out of the city — she called “screaming and sobbing,” scared so much that she thought she was having a heart attack, he said.
Rodrigues, 63, scanned his patio with a flashlight, but found nothing. On Monday, around 7:30 a.m., he made the discovery.
Rodrigues approached firemen outside a station near his home, who whisked the snake away, containing it in a plastic bin until Animal Services arrived, he said.
The snake belongs to Olivia Beckershoff, 25, who lives in a neighbouring apartment building. She said “Bourbon” escaped through a narrow gap between an AC unit and the window jamb then made its way down three storeys and about 15 metres to Rodrigues’s house. All of this happened while she was at work, she said.
“I was shocked that he got out,” Beckershoff said. “I was pretty hysterical, bawling my eyes out. It was a simple error. Something I missed.”
People have the propensity to hate snakes for no reason, she said, which caused her undue stress after she learned her pet was missing.
“There’s so much misunderstanding and stigma against them. It’s socially ingrained to fear them,” Beckershoff said, adding that they’re not as dangerous as people think.
“I love my snake. He’s never bitten anyone. I watch movies and listen to music with him. I try to educate people.”
The animal was returned later Monday and no fees were required to get it back, city spokesperson Tammy Robbinson said in a written statement.
A $240 fine is attached to owning prohibited animals, according to the city’s website.
Snakes longer than three metres are prohibited, making Beckershoff’s boa constrictor perfectly legal.
“I told the young lady that this better not happen again,” said Rodrigues, adding that his wife and daughter aren’t fans of the reptiles.
The story doesn’t end there, though: Rodrigues said he spotted an iguana nestled in a tree Monday afternoon during the lunar eclipse.
Beckershoff confirmed the iguana belongs to her and she said it’s still loose on the property somewhere, as of Thursday morning. She said she has since closed the gap that both animals escaped from.
“Follow the leader happened,” she said. “It’s still running around. I’m really concerned.”
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