An “abandoned” boa constrictor was found freezing cold at a country park near Leighton Buzzard, as the RSPCA came to its rescue with a hot water bottle.
The charity is appealing for information after the adult boa constrictor snake around 1.5 metres long was discovered on Friday (August 31).
The member of the public found the snake near to a bush in a meadow next to Stockgrove Country Park in Heath and Reach.
The kind-hearted caller then placed the snake inside a bin to confine it and RSPCA animal collection officer (ACO) Kate Wright went along to collect it.
She said: “This poor snake was extremely cold and when I first saw it I wasn’t sure it was still alive, it was so motionless. But when I placed my hand on it to check, he stuck out his tongue.
“The caller was so helpful and then also got some water for my hot water bottle which I then wrapped in a towel and placed with the snake to warm him up. I am really grateful to the caller for all their help.
“As this snake was so cold I took him to a nearby reptile specialist vet to warm up and monitor. Apart from his body temperature he was otherwise in good health.
“I suspect given how cold he was it is likely he had been left in the meadow overnight or even longer.
“I also suspect sadly that given the location where he was found it’s likely he was abandoned and I would appeal to anyone who has any information to contact the RSPCA inspector appeal line on on 0300 123 8018.”
Snakes aren’t able to produce their own body heat and as a boa constrictor is not native to this country this snake would require a heated environment with the correct temperature range for the species for the snake to stay healthy and carry out normal behaviour.
Being outdoors in the UK could potentially be really serious as their body can’t function normally if they become too cold.
The RSPCA has seen a growing number of reptiles - including snakes - being abandoned, which is thought to be because they are too much of a commitment for some people.
Many people do not realise what they are taking on when they buy these pets so we are urging prospective buyers to do their research before getting one. We are seeing a worrying number of boa constrictors coming into our centres, because owners are no longer able to care for them.
Although these beautiful animals may look quite hardy, snakes kept as pets are actually completely dependent on their owners, they need them to provide them with the correct accommodation, heating, lighting and food, all of which must replicate their wild habitat as closely as possible to keep them healthy and allow them to carry out their natural behaviour.
Without proper care they can suffer from serious diseases, dehydration, injuries, parasites, and in severe cases or if left untreated, they can eventually die.
The main thing we want to stress to people who are thinking about bringing an exotic pet into their family is to research the needs of the animal thoroughly and make sure that you can provide everything that animal needs for the animal’s entire life.
The RSPCA currently has dozens of reptiles in its care looking for new but knowledgeable homes. For more information on rehoming reptiles visit https://www.rspca.org.uk/findapet.
For more information about the care of exotic pets please visit www.rspca.org.uk/exotics.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give