INVESTIGATION CONTINUES INTO PYTHON MURDERS
Canadian police are still probing the deaths of two young brothers believed to have been crushed to death by an African Rock Python this past weekend while they were sleeping.
So far they've revealed some holes in the initial tale told by the owner of the snake in question, Jean-Claude Savoie. Namely that it wasn't kept in Savoie's exotic pet store below his apartment where the boys were killed, but in the apartment itself.
He also had no permit to own or house that particular breed, a snake infamously known as temperamental and potentially vicious.
Although rarely attacking humans as a food source, experts say that African Rock Pythons are the most aggressive of their species and, at 20-feet in length when fully mature, grow to be the largest too.
Indeed, in 2009 the senior herpetologist at Florida's museum of natural history, Kenneth Krysko, characterized these specific types of pythons as so ill-tempered "they come out of the egg striking."
The entire tragic event in New Brunswick Canada has sparked worldwide controversy now, and many acclaimed snake handlers have expressed deep skepticism over the likelihood of such a double killing, regardless of the reptile's notoriously nasty reputation.
Rock Python's are known to bite although they are nonvenomous, and "typically they lunge at you" explains Jay Brewer of the Reptile Zoo in California. But he, like a great many other experts in the field, still doesn't believe it was the snake that killed the youngsters.
“It doesn’t sound logical,” Brewer says. “It’s paranoid, so it will immediately go on the defensive, but it won’t wrap you up and kill you. They generally don’t want to constrict you. I would like to see absolute proof it was guilty. It just doesn’t jive. I don’t know how [the boys] wouldn’t have got up and run away. The dots don’t quite connect.”
Johan Marais of the African Snakebite Institute in South Africa echoed those sentiments.
"I'm totally skeptical," he says, because "the snakes only eat a few times a year when in captivity," and unlike human predators they "don't kill for fun."
The last reported human attack by an African Rock Python was well over a decade ago and occurred right in Marais' own region. Three years earlier, in the U.S., one also suffocated an infant in his crib.
But the point is: Snakes don't slay unless they're very, very hungry and, regardless, they don't expend a lot of energy on hunting their prey since the act of strangling and slowly devouring their kill is unto itself exhausting.
They lay in wait.
Searching for answers in the bizarre strangulation deaths of the two Canadian children, some people are speculating that the python may have reacted in fear, perhaps when it allegedly fell through the ceiling over the sleeping siblings' mattress.
But they're still pondering how it could have had so much time and opportunity to execute a virtually soundless double-asphyxiation.
Investigators also report that the young boys had been playing earlier in the day with the kind of livestock which appeals to these deadly predators, such as baby llamas, goats and ponies. But that theory doesn't support an accidental killing, which means, if the snake is in fact responsible, its motive remains unclear.
Rock pythons do have a tremendously well-developed sense of smell but extremely poor night vision, so it's therefore "not impossible" that these enticing animal odors may have been lingering on the boys' skin, clothing or hair and served to seal their gruesome fate.
Yet, days later, even police don't sound too sure of the 'mistaken identity' scenario anymore, and their criminal investigation is still underway:
“Originally we thought it strangled the boys,” said Jullie Rogers-Marsh, a constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, “but now we aren’t confirming exactly what happened until we get autopsy and necropsy results.”
While complete autopsy findings for the asphyxiated victims are still pending today, necropsy results on the euthanized python have since been analyzed. These confirmed the suspect snake was absolutely healthy.
Read my original Killing Killers article Boa Constrictor Falsely Accused of Strangling Two Boys here.
*Are you a snake owner, breeder, expert, or victim? Your comments and opinions on this case are welcome and can be solicited anonymously if you prefer.