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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on March 22, 2002 at 20:46:39:
GAZETTE & HERALD (Calne, UK) 21 March 02 New home for snake that found life a boa
A seven-foot boa constrictor was handed over to the RSPCA last week after it started to strike out at its Calne owners.
The snake's owner, Andrew Bell, 32, who has young children, became concerned for his family's welfare after the pet boa constrictor demonstrated aggressive behaviour.
The snake, named Kiara, has now been taken to a vet in Berkshire specialising in exotic snakes.
Mr Bell, of Braemor Road, Calne, said: "There was only one time when she actually decided to hit out with two rapid strikes. But it was more of a butt than a full blow."
Mr Bell bought Kiara through the Trade It paper three years ago.
He had previously owned a corn snake.
He used to take Kiara down to nearby Guthrie School, where she was a hit with pupils.
But when the snake started to get aggressive he became worried that it might one day strike out at one his daughters, Tara, seven, Schannon, three and one-year-old Tiegan.
He said: "She had a nice temperament and I didn't really want to give her up but it was out of respect for the snake.
"She was a brilliant snake but it is better for her to go somewhere larger.
"The problem is mainly her size because obviously she was going to get bigger."
The RSPCA says this is just one of many recent cases that highlight the problem of people taking on exotic animals when they really have no idea how to care for them properly.
The snake was being kept in a tank with a washing-up bowl inside but no proper lighting or heating system.
RSPCA spokesperson Lucy Clark said: "It just goes to show how far we have to take these animals to put them with someone who really knows how to care for them.
"The owner called us in to re-home it. The situation wasn't helped by the fact he worked in a chicken farm and the snake could smell the chickens on him, which exacerbated matters."
She said the snake had not been cruelly mistreated but that the owners did not have the expertise to look after it properly.
Miss Clark said: "It took our inspector all her strength to lift it," she said.
The vet currently looking after the snake is trying to find it a permanent home with experienced snake keepers.
Lee Griffin, who collected and transported the snake, said: "We are repeatedly dealing with cases where exotic animals have become sick, injured or neglected because people don't know how to look after them properly or where they are no longer wanted because they have become too big.
"It is extremely difficult to find someone with the necessary skills and expertise to take on one of these creatures at short notice, but time and time again people are buying them without considering how long they will live for or how big they will grow."
He added: "Exotic animals do not make suitable pets for most people and we would urge individuals to steer clear of taking one."
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