The RSPCA believes that a quiet country lane in Shropshire could be being used as a dumping ground for unwanted pet snakes.
It follows the discovery of an injured six-foot boa constrictor found by two motorists opposite a layby on Roden Lane at about 4pm last Friday. The body of another long-deceased reptile was also found nearby.
The drivers managed to safely block the boa in with their cars before calling the police, who then closed the road.
RSPCA inspector Claire Davey, along with the charity’s animal rescue officer Rachel Ward, who specialises in incidents involving exotic animals, attended the scene.
The boa was bleeding from its jaw and was seen coughing up blood after most likely being hit by a car. The RSPCA officers managed to safely contain the reptile in a large duvet cover using a special pole with a hook on the end, before a local vet specialising in exotic animals arrived a short time later to take the snake for treatment.
Diagnosed with a broken jaw and put on pain relief, it was initially thought the snake had a good chance of recovery, but the reptile sadly died later that night.
The body of another long-deceased, dried out snake of a similar size was also found nearby, and the RSPCA believes that both reptiles were deliberately abandoned in the area.
Claire said: “Normally when we get a call like this we find the snake has been misidentified and it’s actually a small native species, so we were very surprised when we arrived and saw a six-foot boa constrictor on the road. It’s very sad that this beautiful creature’s life ended like this; sadly we think this snake was probably abandoned as it’s a very isolated location and there are no houses around for at least a mile. The discovery of the body of another snake close by also leads us to believe that someone has deliberately left them.
“Unfortunately these sorts of incidents are not unusual; we receive hundreds of calls every year relating to reptiles, and some of these have either escaped or may have been abandoned by their owners. Sadly snakes and lizards often end up in our care as some owners don’t realise the commitment that is involved in meeting their needs. For example, an adult boa constrictor can grow up to 13-feet long and live for over 20 years in captivity, which is why we always urge people to do their research before taking on any exotic animal as a pet.”
The RSPCA urges prospective owners of reptiles to thoroughly research the needs of the particular species, using expert sources, and to only consider keeping one if they can ensure they are fully able to provide for these needs. For more information about the care of reptiles please visit www.rspca.org.uk/exotics.
Anyone with information about where the boa constrictor may have come from is urged to contact the RSPCA’s inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.