A python thought to have strangled two brothers as they slept, had not escaped from a nearby pet shop, as had been previously believed.
Connor and Noah Barthe were found dead in an apartment in New Brunswick, Canada, on Monday morning.
On Tuesday it emerged the 45kg African rock python had escaped its cage in a second floor apartment through a ventilation shaft, and had fallen into the room where the boys were sleeping.
Connor and Noah Barth are believed to have been strangled in their sleep by an African rock python
It at earlier been reported that the reptile had been kept in an enclosure in the Reptile Ocean Inc store below the property.
The snake has been destroyed by a veterinarian and is being examined for clues as to what may have prompted it to kill the boys, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said.
It has emerged the boys, who were sleeping over at a friend’s house, had been taken to a farm earlier the previous day and had petted animals including llamas, goats, horses, dogs and cats.
Paul Goulet, told the Canada Press snakes do not recognise humans as a source of food, but if the children had smelled of animals, it could explain the attack.
Goulet, who is founder and co-owner of Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo in Ottowa, added: “If a snaked sees an animal moving, giving off heat and smells like a goat, what it is? It’s a goat.
“This is the reasonable explanation of how this has happened, that they had been playing with farm animals, they did smell like their prey items and the snake sadly enough mistook them as a food item when they weren’t.”
The rock python is Africa's largest snake and is non-venomous (file picture)
“The preliminary investigation has determined that the two boys were strangled by the snake,” RCMP Constable Julie Rogers-Marsh told the Associated Press on Monday.
"It's very, very unusual and very tragic and difficult for everyone involved," she added.
Family friend Melissa Ellis told The Toronto Star: “There are no words to say that could sum up the joy and love they brought us all.
“They were loved by every hand that touched them and the heavens said it today as even the angels were crying,” she said, referring to the rain which fell on Monday.
Suggested For You
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more