Poisonous copperhead snake captured after sighting in Ajax conservation area
Published Wednesday, August 31, 2016 1:54PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, August 31, 2016 9:44PM EDT
A venomous snake that was the subject of a hunt in a wooded area east of Toronto has been captured, but a python remains on the loose in Montreal.
A spokeswoman for Ajax, Ont., says the copperhead was recovered Wednesday evening by experts from the Indian River Reptile Zoo and is being transported to their facility in Peterborough, Ont.
The town's manager of bylaw services, Derek Hannan, said the snake was spotted over the weekend and signs had been plastered around Greenwood Conservation Area warning hikers about the copperhead.
Parents were asked to keep their children close and dog owners had been warned to keep their pets on leash.
In Montreal, animal emergency experts are also trying to catch a snake on the loose. The python, which is more than one metre long, has been on the lam for a week after escaping from a home in the borough of Verdun.
Authorities believed they had located it in a crack in a wall in a home, but the snake, which goes by the name of "Lady," was not there.
The copperhead was reported by a man who contacted the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, which owns the land, after having taken a picture of a large snake on Sunday, according to spokeswoman Elizabeth Oakley, who said the authority is relieved that the snake has been captured.
The snake, more than a metre in length, was seen near a tree in the park, Oakley said. The conservation authority called the Toronto Zoo to help identify the snake.
Andrew Lentini, the curator of amphibians and reptiles, examined the photograph and determined it is a copperhead, which is part of the viper family and not native to Ontario -- they are usually found in the southern United States.
The reptile is dangerous, he said, but bites aren't usually fatal.
"A bite from one of these animals would require hospital treatment and would be considered a medical emergency," Lentini said, adding that the zoo has antivenin that can be used in treatment.
The snake is prohibited in Ajax, Hannan said, as its part of the town's exotic pet bylaw.
"In my opinion, it was somebody's pet who has outgrown it or couldn't keep it anymore and decided that the best idea was to release it into a conservation area that is heavily used by members of the public," Hannan said.