Large exotic snake spotted near playground in Coquitlam park
Westcoast Reptile Education Society says abandoned snakes are an increasing problem
A large exotic snake was spotted near a playground in Coquitlam River Park Saturday morning.
Daphne Mercier, mother of CBC Radio announcer Stephanie Mercier, was walking with her granddaughter near the playground when another woman walking by alerted her to the snake lounging on a wooden fence.
"I was surprised because I knew it is not indigenous [to this area]," Mercier said over the phone from the park, where she was standing nearby to alert other people walking by with pets and small children.
The snake is about a metre long, Mercier said, but isn't moving fast and seems cold. The weather is overcast and not very warm in Coquitlam today, she said.
"It looks quite tired," she said.
RCMP officers are on scene. Mercier said conservation officers have been alerted and are on their way.
Coquitlam River Park is a popular area with trails that meander through wooded areas.
Mercier said the park is usually quite busy but the cloudy weather seems to have kept more people at home.
Abandoned snakes a growing issue
It's not the first time a pet snake has been spotted in the Lower Mainland.
The Westcoast Reptile Education Society said in May that more and more snakes are being dumped in Metro Vancouver parks.
They said the snakes' long lifespans can be too much for some owners to handle, prompting them to release the animals illegally in parks and wilderness areas.
Owners considering getting rid of their snakes are urged to reach out to local reptile societies, rather than abandon them.