British Columbia

Large exotic snake spotted near playground in Coquitlam park

Daphne Mercier was walking with her granddaughter near the playground when another woman walking by alerted her to the snake, which was lounging on a wooden fence.

Westcoast Reptile Education Society says abandoned snakes are an increasing problem

This snake was spotted in Coquitlam River Park Saturday morning. (Daphne Mercier)

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. 

An RCMP officer watches a snake in a Coquitlam park on Saturday. Coquitlam resident Daphne Mercier was at the park Saturday morning when someone alerted her to it. (Daphne Mercier)

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. 

Last month an exotic snake set loose inside Tynehead Regional Park in Surrey was rescued after it was spotted by a surprised hiker. And in 2018 a python went missing in Delta

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.