Escaped snake kill two kids (UPDATE: Huge python, pet owner arrested)

Holy cow! This is astonishing if true.

RCMP investigating sudden deaths of two children, Campbellton, N.B. – Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

On August 5, 2013, shortly after 6:30 a.m., police officers with the Campbellton RCMP responded to an apartment on Pleasant Street in Campbellton, where the two boys were found deceased. The boys had been sleeping over at the apartment of a friend, which is located above a reptile store.

The preliminary investigation has led police to believe that a large exotic snake had escaped its enclosure at the store sometime overnight, and got into the ventilation system, then into the upstairs apartment. It’s believed the two boys were strangled by the snake.

There is no clarification if the snake was a boa, python or anaconda (all kill by constriction) but a boa is likely too small. This is truly odd. The snake has been captured.

This article notes the children were 5 and 7 years old and there was a petition circulating to have the reptile shop shut down.

The python escaped from the Reptile Ocean exotic pet store and killed the children, reportedly five and seven years old, who were found at 6:30 a.m.

According to deputy mayor Ian Comeau, the snake escaped and slithered through the ventilation system to the residence above where the children had spent the night.

Well before the tragedy, an online petition was asking for Reptile Ocean to be shut down.

The town is in shock.

More to come on this story. Please link to other information if you find it.

UPDATE: (6-Aug-13) Lots of people are questioning the truth of this story but the sources are pretty solid. It is not a hoax. But it is confusing. The snake has been identified as a rock python, possibly 14-16 feet long which regularly can consume an antelope in the wild. Considering the size and weight of such an animal, it is not hard to imagine it could eat a small child. There is speculation that the other child may have tried to rescue the other but again, why wasn’t the adult (the snake’s owner) alerted to the situation? The children’s identity has been released. Snake experts are shocked at the case.

UPDATE: (6-Feb-2015) Police arrest pet store owner in boys’ snake deaths –

Rock python (Python sebae)

Rock python killing antelope. Photo:

Rock python killing antelope. Photo:

Tip: Russell G. 

  18 comments for “Escaped snake kill two kids (UPDATE: Huge python, pet owner arrested)

  1. Chris Howard
    August 5, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    Tragic, and horrible. I hope the parents have good family and friends that they can rely on.

  2. August 5, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    sorry but this sounds very fishy. tragic if true but im not buying it yet without further substantiation. MOST such reports are hoaxes. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”. Whatever killed these boys, its a tragedy nonetheless.

  3. August 5, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    I tend to agree but this is coming directly from the government police. And, two boys are dead and a snake is caught. 1 + 1 adds up to 2. But, as I said, we will follow the story to see what the autopsy states. It’s certainly NOT that implausible.

  4. August 5, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    For the record, I’m pretty sure it was a rock python, not a boa or anaconda (and that’s coming from someone in the reptile community. It’s since made global. Still waiting to hear what the autopsy reveals.

  5. Sarah Tygert
    August 5, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Seems very fishy, indeed. The torontosun report, for one, quotes from their Facebook page for which the link to does not work, and then to this site: which is very doubtful to be any sort of a legitimate place to petition… Disregarding the poorly written and seemingly purposefully overly descriptive complaint.

    The actual story raises far too many questions: Where were the adults? Wouldn’t the first child have made enough noise to disrupt the second child? Why would a snake constrict two children, and not at least attempt to eat one? Where was the python captured? The rcmp article claims an autopsy on the 6th, so perhaps then a report will clear up what occurred.

  6. David Hall
    August 5, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    I suppose a snake could have got in the room and killed both kids, but why? Was it trying to eat? Were the kids somehow threatening it?

    I’m not too sure there could be a serial killing snake.

  7. August 6, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    i have a problem with a well cared for snake to strangle two victims that he cannot eat. as a threat, he would attack…so kids would be awake to fight, it takes time to choke…and there would be a struggle..a sleeping body would wake to struggle

  8. August 6, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    I’ve got to join those who smell something wrong. Yes a snake that large could do this but why? It apparently didn’t try to eat them and somehow either made any noise like say, calling for help.

    No, its smelly.

  9. Drew
    August 6, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    As an owner of a captive bred snake, when its feeding instinct kicks in, it will strike at anything. If the story is true, the snakes feeding instinct would have it strike the 1st child there would be little noise a snake that large probably eats pigs. It strikes and coils its prey in one fluid motion. It realizes it can’t swallow it and moves to the other warm object perhaps the smaller child still sleeping.

  10. August 6, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    I have been speaking to people in related to this case and found out that the snake was simply found in the room. There was a collapsed ceiling which was most likely the cause of death. Autopsy results are in tomorrow. There were 3 children in all, why didn’t the third hear a thing?

    I own over 30 snakes and a highly reputable reptile company and this whole thing is tainted by press assumptions. It makes me really mad because people who don’t know snakes are so quick to have snap judgements.

    Thank you to those who are questioning this release. I will be updating my own Facebook page as FACTS come in from friends and family affected by this tragedy.

  11. Matt
    August 6, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    I glanced at the online petition. Apparently, they received 187 signatures between October and March to have the store shut down. The petition author claims the animals are mistreated and kept in poor conditions, although it could just be a disgruntled customer trying to get back at the store, because it sounds like the author had a bad experience when buying a snake.

    Also, I’m far from an expert on snakes, but I don’t believe a constrictor snake will constrict on a prey as a form of defense if it perceived the boys as a threat. Its defensive action would be to strike out and bite the threat.

  12. Drew Diligence
    August 6, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Media are reporting that RCMP are describing the children as having been “strangled,” this the day before the autopsy was even performed. I strongly suspect irresponsible reporting rather than the police jumping to conclusions, as this is wholly atypical of anything the RCMP would disclose so soon after the tragedy. Also, strangling is not constriction; if that is indeed how they died then it looks like the snake was framed.

  13. Cathy
    August 6, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    Maybe it’s a case of somebody just using the wrong word to describe constriction and all the media agencies running with it. And also after the snake fell through the ceiling possibly just panicking children and panicking snake leading to a disastrous conclusion.

  14. CW
    August 7, 2013 at 8:21 AM

    i live in new brunswick and am following this story, it is true these children are dead, but i highly doubt it was the snake. will have to wait for autopsy

  15. August 7, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    I do not keep snakes, so maybe these may be naive questions (but I’ll go on anyway.) Would a constrictor really fail to eat something it killed? Would a well-fed snake really wrap around a mammal? If the snake weighed 100 pounds (as I’ve read) and fell thru the ceiling, could it have killed the kids just by falling on them?

  16. August 7, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    After learning more information about this sad tragedy, as a snake keeper I will fill you in on details that will clarify.

    1. The snake was housed in the apartment itself, not the pet store below. It escaped its enclosure and made its way through the vent system. It then fell through the ceiling (not onto the children).
    2. The children had been at a petting zoo/farm that evening before going to the owners home for a sleep over
    3. A snake is not prone to constricting and consuming humans, but other mammals yes. It is a plausible hypothesis that this snake mistook the children for farm animals like goats and sheep, which he would readily gobble up
    4. Again, only a theory, but if the snake did indeed constrict these children thinking they were farm animals. He would also leave them once he realizes that this isn’t his desired food. I have taken a few bites during feeding days and as soon as they realize it’s human, they have let go.

    The Autopsy results have not been published yet. But all the members of the reptile keeping community are absolutely sick to their stomachs. If the Rock Python was indeed the culprit, this was an entirely preventable tragedy. Proper caging and husbandry would have ensured that this never happened. I own over 30 snakes and each one, from the tiniest corn snake to my federally permitted Burmese Python are in proper, escape proof enclosures, are well-fed and healthy and are also dealt with on a regular basis.

  17. jane
    August 12, 2013 at 1:37 AM

    asphyxiation.. I just wondered if the snake chose to strangle them right on their necks, both of them? Or maybe it purposely covered both of their mouths to prevent them from breathing? But maybe human can do the same thing, if a well grown man covers a boy’s mouth and nose for few minutes without letting go, it definitely can also kill. Do they have broken bones? Im sure a sign of snake grip and hand grip can be distinguished.. This really disturbs me since I have two boys.. I cant imagine how anyone would feel after knowing both of your young children are gone just like that

  18. Cassandra
    November 24, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    Does anyone know what is going on with the investigation?

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