Canadian authorities have rescued 40 distressed pythons from a motel room where they were being improperly held in plastic storage bins, police said on Friday.
Police found the snakes, ranging from 1 foot to 4-1/2 feet (30 cm to 137 cm) in length, in a motel in Brantford, a city about 100 km (62 miles) southwest of Toronto.
"The snakes were not being suitably cared for and were in distress. The anxious officers called the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals who attended and took 40 pythons into their care," local police said in a statement.
The snakes are expected to be fine, they said.
Brantford Police Sgt. Cheney Venn told CNN: "It appeared as though they were being kept for breeding purposes" Sgt. Venn told CNN. "(They) were not being suitably cared for and were in distress."
A manager at the motel said the snakes belonged to a couple who had checked into a room for one night, and who were out when police arrived on Thursday evening.
Pythons are not legal for home ownership in Brantford, according to the city's animal control bylaws. No arrests have been made in the case.
Last week, two young boys in Eastern Canada died after a 13-foot (3.96-metre), 100-lb (45-kg) python apparently attacked them in their sleep. An autopsy confirmed the two died of asphyxiation.
The National Post reports: "Prime Minister Stephen Harper has vowed to review Ottawa’s role in the regulation of exotic animals after it was revealed that Environment Canada delivered the python that killed two boys to a pet store in New Brunswick.
Environment Canada said one of its wildlife officers brought the African rock python to Reptile Ocean in Campbellton 11 years ago, even though the species was banned in the province without a special permit."
(Editing by Eric Beech)