08/20/2013 10:38 EDT | Updated 10/20/2013 05:12 EDT

Deadly vipers seized, killed in Langley, B.C.

A week after seizing and killing 46 illegal pythons in a Mission rental home, B.C. conservation officers have euthanized a pair of illegal, highly venomous vipers in a south Langley home.

The deadly snakes — a Neuwied's lancehead viper and a Mexican cantil pit viper — posed an "imminent" threat and had to be killed, B.C. Conservation Officer Service spokesman Chris Doyle said Tuesday.

"These animals are dangerous. They are a prohibited species under the controlled alien species regulation under the Wildlife Act," he said.

Conservation officer Dave Cox said the situation with the vipers was perilous because they had not been properly secured.

"Both of these snakes were contained in an environment that had a high risk, that was potential of escape and a high risk that these animals would be abandoned and left there," he said. "It's a multi-dwelling area and there is potential that people that don't even know about them could come into contact with them."

Because of the danger the snakes posed, and because there are no facilities in B.C. that are willing to take the vipers, the snakes were euthanized, Cox said.


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Officials say they don't know how illegal snakes are entering the province or even Canada. The conservation officer service says it will be investigating the recent cases to try to find some answers.

Last week, 46 illegal reticulated pythons were euthanized by conservation officers during a Mission, B.C. home eviction. A Richmond-based python and boa breeder criticized the service for not trying hard enough to find new homes for the snakes.

National awareness about dangerous snakes was heightened earlier this month, after two young boys sleeping at a friend's house in New Brunswick were killed by an African rock python that had escaped its enclosure.

Anyone aware of the presence of suspicious snakes is urged to report them to conservation officers immediately.