Police are warning people that a number of venomous snakes stolen from a Thorold home Saturday night include young cobras with the full venom strength of adult snakes.
The stolen snakes include several juvenile cobras, rattlesnakes, adders and vipers, and a pregnant albino boa, Niagara Regional Police report.
The stolen snakes range in size from 12 to 106 centimetres. The boa constrictor isn’t venomous, but is 200 centimetres long and weighs about 15 pounds.
Police believe the residence, which is in the area of Hansler Road and Highway 20, was specifically targeted, and the suspects knew snakes were kept and bred for reptile e-commerce at the home. The break-in occurred at about 7 p.m.
Police warn cobra venom contains postsynaptic neurotoxins, which spread rapidly in its victim’s bloodstream, causing respiratory failure and, eventually, death. Baby cobras have full strength venom and can defend themselves exactly like their parents.
It does not appear that there are any special provincial or municipal regulations, or licensing provisions, for someone involved in reptile e-commerce.
Police are cautioning anyone with information about the location of the reptiles to understand the risk of serious injury they pose, even to people trained to handle them safely.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Niagara police.