Authorities in Grâce-Hollogne, Belgium, were on the receiving end of a four-metre-long ssssssurprise when they arrived to disassemble illicit cannabis grow — the authorities discovered a massive python guarding the pot.
The grow was located in an apartment in the Montegnée area, a neighborhood in the Belgian municipality of Saint-Nicolas near Liège.
Firefighters were called to the scene of the slithering sativa guardian, who was eventually trapped and brought to an exotic animal care centre in the nearby province, Belgian newspaper Niewsblad reports.
A total of five firefighters teamed up to catch the rebellious reptile, which authorities report is a Burmese python — one of the largest species of snake on the planet — and may still have room to grow.
“In the wild, the snake can be up to seven-metres-long,” Michaël Robert of the Animal Rescue Team told the Brussels Times. “This female was only three years old.”
Cannabis is prohibited in Belgium. Barring “aggravating circumstances,” the penalties are fairly mild for a first offence — a fine of EUR120 to 200. The penalty increases for second and third offences, the latter of which can result in a fine or up to one year in jail.
If a user possesses more than three grams or one live cannabis plant, is in possession of cannabis in or near places where schoolchildren are prone to gather, creates “aggravating circumstances” or is deemed to have disturbed public order, penalties can range from a fine of EUR 8,000 to 800,000 and/or three months to a year in jail.
Although some exotic pets in Belgium are legal to own, a recent study from the University of Ghent prompted veterinarians to discourage the sale and ownership of exotic reptiles.
“Compared to dogs, which achieve natural longevity in the domestic environment, 75 percent of reptiles die during their first year in the home,” Dr. Clifford Warwick, a herpetologist, told the Daily Mail.
With this in mind, it’s likely that the python’s new digs were a serious upgrade. Chances are she’ll have to stay cannabis-free from here on out.
Want to keep up to date on what’s happening in the world of cannabis? Subscribe to the Cannabis Post newsletter for weekly insights into the industry, what insiders will be talking about and content from across the Postmedia Network.
Written by Emma Spears