Police in Canada say two children, believed to be brothers, died after being asphyxiated by a snake.

The python had escaped from a pet shop in the eastern province of New Brunswick.

Police said the boys, aged seven and five, had been staying overnight at an apartment above the exotic pet store.

They were found dead on Sunday morning.

Police believe the snake escaped from its cage and moved through the building's ventilation system.

The African rock python can be as long as 4.5 meters and weigh approximately 45kg.

The non-venomous snake typically kills by constricting its victims.

New Brunswick police have launched a criminal investigation into the deaths.