If you live in Hamilton and have a red-tailed boa constrictor, you will soon be breaking the law.

The city’s planning committee has voted to specifically include the red-tailed boa in its prohibited animal bylaw. The bylaw already bans all poisonous and non-poisonous snakes that can grow to three metres in length. 

It’s come to the attention of animal control that red-tailed boa constrictors can reach that length, said Marty Hazell, director of parking and bylaw. So that snake is now included in the prohibition.

“There are no cases out there right now,” he said. “We’re just tightening up our policies.”

The city has twice been inspired in the last year to take a close look at its prohibited animals bylaw. The first incident was when an African rock python killed two New Brunswick boys. The second was the arrival of Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo on Barton Street East, an educational facility that housed several animals on the prohibited list.

Little Ray’s asked the city to amend its prohibited animal bylaw to exempt the facility. Staff is working on a report that will come back in February, Hazell said.

Little Ray’s doesn’t have any red-tailed boa constrictors, said Paul Goulet, who owns the company. But it’s likely someone in Hamilton does.

“There are a lot of people in Hamilton that have boa constrictors,” he said. “I bet you there are literally hundreds of boa constrictors sold within the city.”

It’s fairly rare for them to reach three metres in length, Goulet said. The norm is closer to 2.7 metres.