Python found dumped in Somerset
15 January 2019, 09:49 | Updated: 15 January 2019, 09:51
A 13ft-long snake has been rescued after being dumped inside a plastic box in a layby in Somerset.
The reticulated python was found by the A303 at Marston Magna on Friday.
Animal collection officer Clara Scully went to collect the huge snake which, at 13ft long (almost 4m) would stand almost as tall as a giraffe.
She said: ''This snake is in lovely condition so has obviously been a well cared for pet.
''However, the snake was found dumped out in the cold and was suffering due to the low temperatures.
''We rushed the snake to a temporary boarder for overnight care and has now been taken in by one of our exotics officers who will offer a permanent home if no one comes forward to claim ownership.''
Reptiles are ectothermic so they rely on their environment to maintain their body temperature.
Reptiles that are not native to this country need a heated environment with a specific temperature gradient for the species to regulate their body temperature, in order to stay healthy and allow them to carry out their normal behaviour.
If a reptile becomes too cold they may be unable to feed or move normally and their immune system will not work properly to fight disease, meaning the animal can become very ill.
RSPCA senior scientific officer in exotics and wildlife trade, Stephanie Jayson, said: ''Reticulated pythons have been recorded to grow up to 9m (30 ft) in captivity. Therefore, it is difficult to provide these snakes with enough space in a home environment. Owners may not realise how large these animals will grow when they first take them on and, sadly, large snakes may be abandoned when their owners realise they cannot provide enough space to care for them properly.
''In 2018, the number of abandoned reptiles collected by RSPCA officers was 298 (21% of total reptile collections). Abandoning a reptile or releasing unwanted exotic pets into the wild is cruel and illegal.
''Most exotic animals kept as pets are unlikely to be able to survive in the wild in Britain and non-native species could pose a serious threat to our native wildlife. It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) to release, or to allow to escape, any species that are not normally native to the UK.''
Anyone who recognises this snake or thinks they may know more about where the snake came from should contact the RSPCA's appeal line on 0300 123 8018.