Thursday, November 4, 2010

Missing Snake In Downtown Toronto...On Your Tippy Toes All!

Jayme Poisson Staff Reporter

Benjamin Schorer says he was cleaning his apartment Tuesday morning when a snake slithered out of his drain. “I was in shock, ‘Is this for real!?’” said the resident of 100 Wellesley St. E. “I’m extremely phobic, I haven’t gotten nearly any sleep in two days.” According to Shorer, he spotting the metre-long reptile, took a quick video of it on his iPhone and went straight down to the management office in his pyjamas. The snake disappeared. “At first they looked at me like I was nuts,” he said. “We looked for it and they told me not to worry about it. They said it was probably somebody’s pet.” But Schorer couldn’t stop worrying: “What if the snake was poisonous?” he said. So, Schorer said he began to research, calling several pest control companies until he was redirected to Animal Services. Then, he emailed the video to an expert at the Toronto Zoo who told him the snake wasn’t dangerous. Dangerous or not, he’s not pleased. He wonders why building management isn’t putting him up in a hotel. Journalists were directed to Tom Schwartz, president of the Canadian Apartment Properties Real Estate Investment Trust. He has yet to return a request for comment. “It could be in the walls of the building for all I know. It could have gone back in the drain or could even be in my apartment somewhere,” Schorer said, adding that the experience has been both weird and stressful. A memo from building management was posted on the tenant’s association website and outside the elevators saying the snake is a pet. It adds Toronto Animal and Control says the snake is not poisonous. The snake is being described as an albino California King, with orange and white markings and a very small head. Tenants are being asked to contact management if they spot it. Travis Bergmann lives across the hall from Schorer on the 21st floor. “I don’t want to live in a building with snakes,” he said, adding that he checks under his couch and inside his cupboards. On Tuesday, Bergmann said someone from animal control knocked on his door to ask if he had a mirror they could borrow. They were looking for a snake. “I know it’s not venomous but it’s still creepy,” he said. It is unclear at this time whether the snake belongs to someone living in the building. John Mowat, an employee at Vaughan Reptilia said people shouldn’t “freak out.” “They’re kind of shy snakes,” he said. “It’s not going to bite anyone or harm anyone.” On a scale of one to 10, Mowat ranked the California King snake “about a six or seven” when it comes to popular choices for pet snakes. He added that the breed is colubrid, meaning it can handle cooler temperatures. “It could probably survive here,” he said. “And I guarantee you a hundred bucks you’re not going to find it because those snakes get into anything.” While most tenants are on edge, some are thinking about the snake’s well-being. “I’m mostly just worried about the snake,” said resident Carolyn Bentley. “It’s been missing for two days. It’s probably hungry or stuck somewhere.”

For more & the video, go to The Toronto Star