Two young boys enjoying a sleepover Sunday night with a friend were believed to have been killed by a large African rock python snake.  The boys and a friend were sleeping in separate bedrooms in a home above a pet store called Reptile Ocean in Campbellton, N.B.

The boys, Noah Barthe, 5, and Connor Barthe, 7, were discovered dead Monday morning according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  A spokesperson for the agency said that it is believed that the boys were strangled by the snake. Their friend is physically all right.

The snake was recovered in the building by the storeowner.

"It’s strange, I’m just trying to piece it together,” says Lee Parker, the facilities manager at Ontario reptile zoo Reptilia. “They don't go on killing sprees … it doesn't make sense to me."  I find it very bizarre that it would attack two [kids]."

Such deadly attacks aren’t unheard of, but are rare. The species is the largest in Africa, sometimes growing as long as six metres.

A criminal investigation has begun.