Animal

Huge boa constrictor could be on the loose in Oxford


Amelia and grandfather Alan Drewett found the snake skin on a busy road in Headington (Picture: SWNS)

There are fears that a deadly boa constrictor is on the loose in Oxford, after a girl found what appears to be a five foot long snake skin.

Amelia Drewett, seven, made the discovery while out walking with her grandfather in a leafy residential suburb. Her grandmother Debra appealed for the reptile’s owner to come forward on Facebook – but the would-be animal’s whereabouts remain a mystery.

Boa constrictors are not venomous but have been known to kill animals and very occasionally young children by squeezing them to death.

The section of skin, taller than Amelia, was found by a busy road, but is incomplete – meaning the snake could be significantly larger than 5 foot. It is now hanging up in her grandparents’ house in Headington, about 100 metres from where it discovered.

Debra Drewett, 65, told the Oxford Mail: ‘I couldn’t believe my eyes when they brought it home. It goes from almost floor to ceiling.

‘They thought it was just plastic in the brambles under the bridge, but they took a closer look and it was this huge snakeskin.

‘Nobody’s come up with any sort of reasonable explanation for how it got there.

‘I was really worried and had the image of a huge snake slithering around someone’s garden.’

The skin is longer than Amelia (Picture: SWNS)
The pair found the skin close to the Drewetts’ home and experts say it comes from a boa constrictor (Picture: SWNS)

Debra emailed the RSPCA after the discovery and spoke to Evolution Reptiles in nearby Kidlington, who told them it was a boa constrictor.

The shop does not sell that species as they grow too large and assistant Nicole Head believes it was dumped deliberately.

She said: ‘I can imagine somebody’s probably let it go, as a large snake is pretty hard to lose.

‘It’s not the first time we’ve heard or seen this happen, but we’re keeping our eye out to see if anyone’s lost it.

Amelia, seven, was stunned to make the discovery (Picture: SWNS)
The skin was found along the Eastern Bypass in Oxford (Picture: SWNS)

‘If it’s scared it’s going to be worried, but we can’t imagine it’ll cause harm.’

That view was echoed by Colin Stevenson, head of education at Crocodiles of the World zoo in Brize Norton, Oxfordshire.

He revealed the boa would be feasting on rodents and small birds and the climate meant it was unlikely to survive until Christmas.

Mr Stevenson said: ‘It’s not going to eat your cat. You wouldn’t want it to bite you, but it would only give you a nasty wound.

‘Most of these reptiles aren’t going to do too well in the wild in England.

‘It’s certainly too cold for them to thrive, unless they can find somewhere warm or protected.’

Owners do not need a licence to keep a boa constrictor, since they are not venomous, and therefore not deemed a dangerous wild animal.

The RSPCA did not respond to a request for comment.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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