After a Vernon resident tried to domesticate a pair of gopher snakes, BC Conservation Service reminded that it is against the law to keep wild animals in one’s possession. (Yuval Levy/Unsplash)

After a Vernon resident tried to domesticate a pair of gopher snakes, BC Conservation Service reminded that it is against the law to keep wild animals in one’s possession. (Yuval Levy/Unsplash)

Wild gopher snakes aren’t pets: Vernon conservation officer

After resident kept two gopher snakes in home, conservation reminds it’s illegal to domesticate wildlife

A BC Conservation Officer is reminding that wild animals are not suitable pets in B.C. after a Vernon resident attempted to keep two gopher snakes in their home.

Alexis Phillippe posted to the Vernon and Area Community Forum Facebook page about her landlord’s attempt to domesticate a pair of the blue-listed snakes, alleging they were mistreated in the process.

“These snakes, which are on the blue list for high-risk species with protected habitats, require a licence to have and you can be fined for having them,” she said, citing the B.C. Wildlife Act.

“When I informed him of the fact (after several months of voicing my concern for their living conditions), instead of doing the right thing and giving them to the Conservation Officer Service so they could be properly kept and reintegrated into the wild, he boxed them up and gave them to a lady with short red hair driving a white minivan today,” she said.

Vernon Conservation Officer Tanner Beck said he was aware of the incident, adding wild animals are not to be treated as pets in any circumstance.

“Any wildlife in B.C. — whether they’re blue listed, protected or not protected at all — you cannot keep it in your possession,” Beck said.

When a person is found to have taken a wild animal into their possession, Beck says B.C. Conservation will have to seize the animal.

“You can’t capture any wildlife in B.C. and keep it as a pet.”

Gopher snakes are protected under the Wildlife Act. According to the Ministry of Environment, the snakes are vulnerable to needless killing by humans because of their similar appearance to the Western Rattlesnake.

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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