Reptiles dead after fire, 10 tortoises and 1 gecko rescued: officials
A number of reptiles were found dead in a south Edmonton home after a fire on Wednesday, according to Animal Care and Control.
Edmonton Fire Rescue Services were called to a house fire in the area of 20 Avenue and 112A Street just after noon.
No injuries were reported, but officials initially estimated there were 1,000 reptiles in the home.
A man who lives in the home, who appeared shaken as crews removed boxes from inside, told CTV News Edmonton the number of reptiles was in the dozens.
"There was quite a few reptiles here," EFRS Capt. Ron Slenders said.
"I believe it was probably smoke. I do not believe they were burned, and like I said, some survived."
Ten tortoises and one gecko were rescued, a city spokesperson told CTV News Edmonton.
While bylaws in the city of Edmonton limit how many dogs or cats a person can own, no rules are in place for reptiles or other animals – unless the city has a reason to issue one on a case-by-case basis, Barton added.
On Thursday, peace officers with Animal Care and Control obtained a search warrant to locate other animals in the home and collect evidence for the investigation.
NOT A HOARDER: LOCAL EXPERT
Peter Daly, Edmonton Reptile and Amphibian Society president, was called to the scene by the city to assist.
He told CTV News that all the animals at the home were legal to own in Canada and posed no harm to people. According to Daly, the homeowner was not a hoarder but bred and sold reptiles.
“It’s not the kind of thing that neighbours would have to be concerned about,” Daly said. “And the thought that there might be 100 or 200 animals involved may sound extreme to the average person.”
Daly described how the homeowner had several small tubs used to propagate terrarium plants in addition to other enclosures.
Various species of tarantulas, small lizards, and frogs were located in the home, he added.
Daly said that none of the animals were bigger than a hot dog or a cherry tomato for the spiders.
“About half of the animals involved were all little baby tarantulas,” he said, “in little plastic containers that all fit on like two shelves, on a bookshelf essentially.
“This fellow,” Daly said, “Most of those little frogs and lizards and spiders were intended to be shipped out to prospective customers yesterday and today. Had the fire happened today, for example, those numbers would have been drastically lower.”
Daly said that many people have a “poor impression” of reptiles, especially snakes and spiders.
“Even if people aren’t crazy about these sorts of animals, they don’t present any risk to you, they don’t present any risk to our environment.”