Ssssomething nasssty in a Sssydenham woodshed

By Laurie Churchman

A stray snake has been rescued after it was found curled up in a garden shed.

The orange and white corn snake is said to be in good condition after being taken in by the RSPCA on Monday.

Rescuers arrived at the shed in Lower Sydenham in the nick of time. RSPCA Animal Collection Officer Mat Hawkins explained that corn snakes are not native to Britain. ‘It wouldn’t be able to survive for long in the wild here,’ he said.

Mr. Hawkins made clear that the snake is not dangerous.

‘At 25cm, it’s likely just a hatchling’, he said. ‘But this stunning corn snake must have given the householder quite a surprise. It’s not every day you find a snake in your garden shed.

‘It’s probably a pet that has come from someone’s home. Snakes are not only good escape artists. Like other exotic pets, they have specialist needs which are difficult to meet in a domestic environment’, he explained. ‘Anyone thinking of taking on the responsibility of getting one needs to thoroughly research what that entails.’

The snake is not the first to have gone missing this side of the river. Last month, a walker stumbled across a missing three-foot-long royal python around Tooting common.

American corn snakes are often mistaken for their venomous cousins copperhead snakes — identifiable by their hourglass-shaped bands.

Corn snakes themselves are not poisonous, but the RSPCA advises that the public should keep a safe distance if they stumble across another exotic snake in South London and contact them on 0300 1234 999.

The RSPCA hopes to reunite the reptile with its owner. Anyone with information about the missing snake should contact the RSPCA’s appeals line on 0300 123 8018.

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