Winnipeg police and animal services officials are trying to track down the person who tossed their pet python into a garbage dumpster.
A man taking out his trash made the surprise discovery around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday and immediately called 911.
The ball python, measuring about four feet in length, was seen squirming inside a large garbage bin near apartments in the 200 block of Wellington Crescent. It had likely been placed in the bin for a matter of hours or possibly a few days.
A police dog team responded to the call and secured the snake inside a recycling bin until animal services officials arrived to take custody. Broken pieces of a large aquarium were also found in the dumpster.
Animal services chief operating officer Leland Gordon said today the python would likely not have survived for very long, considering how low the mercury is falling at night.
"When someone gets a pet, that's a lifelong commitment to that animal. You don’t put snakes in dumpsters. You find a home for that animal," Gordon told a news conference.
He said the snake is now "happy and warm" and under a heat lamp while the investigation continues.
Ball pythons can be legally owned in the city, but require specialized care. Gordon said the snake could have slithered out of the dumpster on its own and would have no doubt given residents quite a fright if spotted on a nearby sidewalk or street.
"It’s not very often we see a stray snake like this," he said. "We’re glad it didn't get out and a child didn't encounter it on the street. There's a portion of our community that's terrified of snakes."
Police are continuing their investigation and say charges could be laid under the Animal Care Act if they confirm the snake was deliberately discarded.