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Python removed from Scarborough apartment wall

Last Updated Aug 15, 2018 at 6:43 pm EDT

An unwanted guest was successfully evicted from a Scarborough apartment on Wednesday, much to the relief of the tenants.

Roger Kerr, who lives with his wife Beverley in an apartment on Eglinton Avenue just north of Kingston Road, said he heard a thud in the bedroom last night.

“I heard something that fell off our dresser in our bedroom. I thought maybe it was just the wind blew something off, nothing to worry about. But then a few minutes later I heard a bigger thump,” he explained.

When Kerr turned on the light he was in for a shock — a large snake was curled up around the cord of his cellphone charger.

The six-foot snake then disappeared into the wall.

It’s believed the snake belonged to a previous tenant who moved out of an apartment upstairs a few weeks ago. That tenant allegedly had about 34 snakes.

Kerr said building management was notified and a wildlife company was called in — only to find the snake had wedged itself behind some plumbing and getting him out would be more challenging than expected.

A snake trapped behind pipes in a Scarborough apartment building, Aug. 14, 2018. HANDOUT/Beverly Kerr

George Warner, a self-proclaimed “snake man,” was up for the challenge and arrived at the apartment Wednesday around noon, ready to remove the snake.

After a plumber cut a hole in a wall, Warner reached in and expertly grabbed the snake, which he said was obviously a pet.

“This was a pet. It’s not scary. You shouldn’t be scared of him. He won’t bother anybody,” said Warner. “As you can see it’s not biting, it’s not harming anybody. He just wants to eat.”

Warner identified the snake as a ball python.

Warner said he’s been the “snake man” for 30 years and knows the animals “inside and outside.” He added the snake was obviously hungry and he would take him home and feed him — which appears to be what he did.

Shortly after speaking to gathered media, Warner left the premises with the python. He said he has another, younger ball python at home, and this one, which he named Leo, will “be his bigger brother.”

Martina Ricci from Reptilia Zoo said a ball python like Leo is a perfectly legal pet in Toronto. The City of Toronto said only venomous or poisonous snakes and those that grow to an adult size larger than three metres are prohibited.

Ricci said ball pythons are native to Africa but are a common household pet. They are known to be docile and pose no threat to humans.

Harmless though it may be, Beverly Kerr breathed a big sigh of relief after the slithery intruder was removed from her apartment.

“I’m filled with joy, I’m very happy,” she said. “But I’m still nervous. I’m still scared. But I’ll get over it.”

However, because of the sheer number of snakes believed to have been kept in the upstairs apartment, Beverly Kerr said she does not believe the python was a party of one.

“They’re trying to tell us there are no more snakes and I do not believe that,” she said.

“Thirty to 34 snakes? And only one escaped? It’s impossible! Now, I’m going to keep my lights on.”

The City of Toronto has no restrictions on the number of snakes a pet owner can legally keep in a home.