Toronto: In a tragic incident, two young brothers, aged 5 and 7, were strangled to death in their sleep by a massive 45-kg python that escaped from a pet store in Canada.
The African rock python, between 3.5 and 4.5 metres in length, got out of its enclosure at Reptile Ocean pet shop and slithered up a ventilation duct to the apartment above the store where the boys were sleeping.
The bodies of the two boys were discovered early the next morning, and police arrived shortly after.
Jean-Claude Savoie, owner of the store in northern New Brunswick called the incident tragic.
"My body is in shock. I don`t know what to think," Savoie was quoted by Global News as saying.
Savoie said the two children are the kids of his best friend and they often sleep over in his apartment. It`s believed the boys lived in the building next to the shop.
"I feel like they`re my kids," he said.
Savoie said he went into the living room, where the kids were sleeping, and discovered a gruesome sight.
"I thought they were sleeping until I [saw] the hole in the ceiling. I turned the lights on and I [saw] this horrific scene," he said.
"[The snake] went through a ventilation system. I don`t understand how it did it. It went through the ceiling and the snake fell through the living room from the ceiling," he said.
"I found the snake. It was in a hole underneath. I pinned him down and put him in a cage and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) took him," Savoie said.
Savoie said the 45 kilogramme python is not normally handled by anyone, including the two children.