Toronto

Owners reunited with Python found in east end Toronto sewer overnight

It's the stuff of urban legends and B-movies. A hot summer night. A sewer. A huge snake. And now it looks like this movie will have a happy ending.

'Monty' had been missing since night of the Raptors' championship win, owners say

After it was found near a gas station, Toronto firefighters managed to get the snake into a bag and to animal services. It has since been reunited with its owners. (Jeremy Cohn/CBC)

It's the stuff of urban legends and B-movies. 

A hot summer night. A sewer. A huge snake. 

And now it looks like this movie will have a happy ending. 

Owners have been reunited with Monty, their 11-month-old ball python that was found poking out of a sewer grate near Victoria Park and Danforth avenues in the east end of Toronto just after midnight Tuesday. 

Monty had been missing since the night the Toronto Raptors won their first NBA championship on June 13, according to the snake's owner Samantha Sannella.

Since that night, Monty had been surviving on its own.  

"We're happy he's OK," Sannella said. "We were really worried." 

 

Monty was spotted by a passerby who saw the snake near an Esso gas station and called police.

It had travelled about three kilometres from home. 

A worker at the gas station said he saw the snake himself after two customers told him it was outside. 

"It's very beautiful," said Kranthi Nakkala. 

Toronto Fire Services showed up soon after, and were able to remove the grate and get the snake into a bag before transporting it to police headquarters, where it was handed it over to animal services at the City of Toronto.

Sannella said the snake seemed mostly unharmed, except for possible damage to his skin. 

Owner Samantha Sannella says her son originally wanted a spider, and she said no. She says she has grown fond the snake since they bought it in November. (Sue Reid/CBC)
 

'Oh my God, where's Monty?' 

Sannella's 18-year-old son, who purchased the four-foot-long snake in November, had a party with his friends the night of the championship win at their family home, near Coxwell and Danforth avenues.  

During the party, Sannella says she thinks the lid of Monty's container was accidentally left open, and the snake slipped into a nearby sewer grate, but added that "there's no way of knowing" exactly what happened.  

When she went downstairs the next day, she noticed that the snake's container was empty.

Sannella said she immediately went to her son and said, "Oh my God, where's Monty?" 

"Then we went on a frantic search for him." 

Monty the python pictured in his aquarium. (Submitted by Samantha Sannella)
 

Sannella said the family had been trying a variety of techniques to find Monty, including keeping the air conditioning high in the hopes of drawing it to a heating pad, and even playing "snake charmer music."

Sannella was notified of the sighting after someone posted a picture of Monty on Twitter, and a colleague asked if it was hers. 

"Everyone at my office knows that the snake had been missing," she said. 

Soon after she got in touch with animal control and scheduled the reunion. 

This is the sewer grate where the snake was found. The city identified the snake as a ball python. (Jeremy Cohn/CBC)
 

When Monty isn't on adventures in Toronto sewers, it lives in an aquarium, and eats a frozen rat once a week. 

"It has a beautiful aquarium — it's actually quite huge, with all kinds of fun stuff with it to play with." 

It doesn't like to be played with too much, Sannella added, and "generally likes to stay curled up in a ball in the dark." 

Now Sannella says she's thinking of writing a kids book about her snake's adventure, with the title Adventures of Monty the Python. 

A statement from the City of Toronto laid out the rules about what kinds of snakes people can own. 

The city forbids any snake that reaches an adult size of more than three metres, or nine feet, as well as all poisonous or venomous animals. 

Ball pythons typically grow to a length between three and four feet, or 1.2 metres, and are non-venomous constrictors. 

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