Alberta RCMP share ‘not typical’ story of slithery snake suspect in Cochrane

Alberta RCMP shared this "arrest" of a grass snake. Courtesy / RCMP

A snake, employee and RCMP officer walk into a gas station…

It sounds like a joke, but that’s a real situation that happened in Cochrane, Alta., on Canada Day this year.

Alberta RCMP shared the story on its social media Tuesday, showing an officer on his hands and knees at a gas station, where he “coaxed the python out from under the chip display.”

However, the “python” turned out to be nothing but a grass snake, also known as a garter snake.

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Cpl. Tammy Keibel, with RCMP media relations, said the story was shared now because there had recently been a call out to detachments to share interesting or strange things that have happened to officers when out on the field, outside of the normal type of call.

Keibel added that while RCMP do respond to animal calls often, this particular call was slightly more obscure.

“That, obviously, is something we don’t go to very often,” Keibel said. “Animal calls are part of it, but it might be loose horses, cows on the highway, maybe a loose dog.

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She added that officers released the snake into the wild “with the understanding that it would not continue to traumatize the humans.”

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According to the government, garter snakes are not venomous and “are not aggressive by nature, and will sooner hide or flee than risk a confrontation with potential handlers or predators, including humans.”

Alberta is home to six types of snakes: the bullsnake, plains garter snake, prairie rattlesnake, red-sided garter snake, wandering garter snake, and the western hog-nosed snake. Only the prairie rattlesnake possesses venom that is harmful to humans.

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