A man who owns and breeds exotic snakes in Sudbury says he'd welcome changes to the rules on keeping the animals in light of a suspected fatal snake attack on two young boys.

The New Brunswick brothers were at a sleepover earlier this week when a four-meter-long African rock python escaped its enclosure near where the boys were sleeping.


John Cameron, owner of BJ's Little Rodents & Reptiles in Sudbury, with an Albino Burmese Python. Cameron argues an outright ban would never work, but an exotic pet registry in cities across Ontario would help. (Jessica Pope/CBC )

John Cameron, who owns BJ's Little Rodents and Reptiles on Durham Street, said some snakes, like the African Rock Python, aren't meant to be kept by everyone.

But if they are already here, how does one handle that situation?

Cameron's answer is straightforward: have a dangerous animals registry in every city.

"There should be some place that we can say, 'Hey look. I've got this animal and I just want you guys to be informed of it, and if I sell it, I'll let you know’," he said.

"At least someone's kept track of it. We don't want [the snake] to go off a radar somewhere and then [have] it pop up in someone's backyard or a swamp."

Cameron added he'd welcome standardized rules on snake enclosures — and not just the tanks. Tanks should be housed in separate snake-proofed rooms, he added.

"[The New Brunswick snake] went through duct work. That grating should've had a screen on it," Cameron said.

Complaint-driven enforcement of rules

In Greater Sudbury, anyone can have two non-venomous snakes, provided they're kept in an "escape-proof enclosure."

But enforcement of those rules is complaint-driven, and it's not known how many large exotic snakes are actually in the city.

"We don't get very many complaints," said Richard Paquette, who manages animal control for the Rainbow District Animal Shelter, adding that fatal attacks like the ones in New Brunswick are extremely rare.

But, he said, if anyone is concerned, Sudbury's bylaw on pet ownership will be up for revision in the next year — and people should bring forth any suggestions they may have.