Dr. Adrian Walton with Basil the ball python. (Special to The News)

Dr. Adrian Walton with Basil the ball python. (Special to The News)

Maple Ridge vet has big snakes that need homes

Boa constrictor and ball python will be up for adoption

A Maple Ridge veterinarian will soon be looking for new homes for two large snakes.

Dr. Adrian Walton was recently sent a 4.5 ft. long ball python, Basil, who comes from the Interior. The BC SPCA branch in Penticton was unable to adopt the animal after a few weeks. With Walton’s contacts in the exotic pet world through Dewdney Animal Hospital, they were hopeful he would have more luck in finding the reptile a good home.

When Basil arrived, Walton already had an eight-foot red tailed boa constructor in his care. The RCMP had discovered the snake in a dilapidated house with no power. It was surrendered to the SPCA, who gave it to Walton to ensure it is in good health, and that it finds a happy home. No owner has come forward.

The ball python, named for the way it curls itself into a ball when resting, was surrendered to the SPCA by its owner.

“A lot of people don’t realize the time commitment,” said Walton, noting that while snakes can be low maintenance compared with other pets, they are enduring.

READ ALSO: Veterinarian speaks out after abandoned pet snake found frozen to death in Fraser Valley

He said there is no way for him to determine the age of the snakes, but notes they could live 30 years.

Basil the ball python would be a suitable pet for someone who was owning their first snake, he said. It will need a tank that is about four feet long, and survives on rats and mice, swallowed whole, which are generally purchased frozen from a pet store. Everything his new owner will need should be found at a good pet store.

“He’s very easy to take care of,” said Walton.

Basil does not have colour patterns that are often sought out by ball python owners, so Walton anticipates it might be a bit harder to find him a home.

The boa constrictor is a much larger snake, would need a more roomy enclosure of about six feet, and generally isn’t suitable for someone who has never owned a comparable pet.

“He’s a sweet snake – very calm,” said Walton.

While they don’t crave the “love and attention” of a cat or dog, he said owners can feel their snakes appreciate their company.

“They do seem to enjoy interacting – it’s mental stimulation,” he said. “They do engage with their owners.”

He plans to keep both snakes for a couple of weeks to ensure they are in good health, and notes they appear to have no issues beyond a few easily-dispatched mites.

“Both are very calm, well-behaved snakes.”

Anyone interested in adopting one of these pets can email Walton at dewdneyvet@gmail.com.

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