B.C. enacted strict laws for owning exotic animals after a woman was mauled to death by a tiger in the Interior in 2007. But David Chan, a Vancouver-based snake breeder, says many people aren’t aware of those laws.
"I think that the most important thing is that people need to be much more educated about the larger snakes," Chan said.
People are allowed to have larger snakes as pets in B.C., but owners need to have permission.
Currently, there are 61 permits in B.C. for pythons (which are more than three metres in length) and 11 permits for boas (which range in length from 0.91 metres to four metres).
Most of the snakes are owned by individuals, while the rest are owned by production houses, zoos or schools.
The B.C. SPCA says the province needs to review its list of banned animals, add new species to the list and provide resources for conservation officers out looking for banned animals.
Sara Dubois, manager of wildlife services for the B.C. SPCA, says people should watch out for animals they suspect are banned.
"They should... report all poachers and polluters to verify that that person indeed has a permit, and if they do not, they can start an investigation," she said.