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Exotic pets slithering into Saskatoon, and into hearts

Certain kinds of pythons and boas will be greenlit in Saskatoon as city council looks to update its animal control bylaw. Global News

A proposed change to the animal control bylaw is being put forward by the Saskatoon City Council to allow certain types of pythons and boas to be kept as pets.

Ward 3 councillor David Kirton says a bylaw will be coming to align Saskatoon with the province’s laws.

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“The provincial government has changed its laws to allow certain pythons and boas to be exotic pets here in Saskatchewan, and so it’s needed then that the city change its bylaws to comply with the provincial laws,” Kirton said.

“I’m not a big fan of it personally, but I guess there are people out there who feel it’s necessary to have pets like boas or pythons.”

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Click to play video: 'Snake on the loose highlights issues with keeping reptiles as pets'
Snake on the loose highlights issues with keeping reptiles as pets

Jemma Omidian with the Saskatoon SPCA is one of those people.

Omidian said she had pythons and boas before moving out to Saskatoon, and said it will make things easier if the province and city are on the same page when it comes to exotic pets.

“It just makes things a little bit more cohesive and simple, especially if you’re moving from out of the city (into) the city, and all of a sudden you need to rehome your pet,” Omidian said.

However, she said she doesn’t expect the bylaw change to affect the SPCA much.

“We don’t really get a lot of reptiles or exotic animals just in general. Perhaps though, it’s because it used to be prohibited.”

Omidian stressed that people should know what they’re getting into if they decide to get one of the pythons or boas listed on the government of Saskatchewan’s website.

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“They’re not quite as easy as you may think.”

“There’s a lot of extra stuff that you have to do to make sure you’re keeping them comfortable in an environment that’s not natural to them,” Omidian added.

She said you have to control the humidity and temperature, adding that you may have to mist a python down, and have proper food for them.

Omidian noted that people need to do their homework if owning an exotic pet interests them, stressing that each type of animal requires a different setup and has different needs.

“As a personal snake and reptile lover, I do feel like snakes get a bad rap. I know there’s probably a lot of fear with these new rules coming into play, a lot of people don’t like snakes, they’re kind of villainized.”

“Snakes aren’t something to be feared. They can make excellent pets if they’re cared for properly,” Omidian added.

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