AN exotic serpent caused drama in Darrington last weekend when it slithered into a couple’s back garden.
Officers from Pontefract and Knottingley neighbourhood policing team (NPT) were called to retrieve the flame-coloured snake from an address off Estcourt Drive after residents reported the reptilian intruder on Saturday afternoon.
The two-year-old non-venomous Carolina corn snake – which is indigenous to the southern states of North America – was initially mistaken for a lost sock by the homeowner.
The woman, who did not want to be named, said: “I was inside the house and my husband was going to pick it up when I thought, ‘that isn’t that sock we lost’, so I was banging on the window.
“I think he thought it was a joke until it moved, then we realised it was real. It took my husband and my daughter’s partner 25 minutes to get it into a box.
“It was scary to look at, I don’t like snakes anyway. We didn’t know if it was poisonous or not until we looked it up on an iPad.”
The NPT picked the snake up until the RSPCA could collect it from the police station.
The creature is now being cared for by Morley Exotic Animal Rescue until its owner is found or it is rehomed.
Alan Hewitt, trustee for the animal charity, said: “These animals are probably the most common pet snake in the UK and they’re absolute escape artists.
“They will get out of the tiniest hole and we get reports like this every summer, lots of them come to us.
“This one has been quite well looked after and just recently it must have fed so there’s a very big chance it could have escaped, but that could have been 12 months ago.”
Mr Hewitt said the discovery of the 14-inch snake was just one of around 40 incidents the rescue centre received every year in West Yorkshire.
Sgt Lis Walker of the NPT said: “This corn snake was found on a property adjacent to farmland, and it is possible that recent harvesting may have disturbed it and caused it to relocate.
“Obviously, this species is not native to the UK so we suspect that it was once a pet that has escaped or been set free by an irresponsible owner.
“I would urge people to think carefully before buying any pet and to make sure they are able to afford the time and money required for their upkeep.
“If you cannot look after a pet for any reason, then the responsible course of action would be to contact the RSPCA or a pet rescue centre.
“Turning the animal loose is just thoughtless and irresponsible.”
If anyone has any information about the snake’s origins, contact the NPT on 01977 601045.