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Posted by W von Papinešu on April 09, 2003 at 21:37:08:
BRACKNELL NEWS (UK) 10 April 03 RSPCA tips the scales in favour of snake's survival
An RSPCA inspector met a slippery customer in a grave situation when he was called to rescue a grass snake which had become trapped in the graveyard at St Peter's Church in Winkfield.
The two-and-a-half foot long reptile had crawled through a hole in the metal lid of a vase on a gravestone, probably to get at the water collected at the bottom.
RSPCA inspector Graham Hammond said: "The snake had managed to get about two or three inches through the vase hole before getting itself completely stuck.
"I have never seen a snake get itself into such a predicament. It was simply unable to move forwards or backwards.
"Had the snake gone unnoticed, it probably would have suffocated or died from exhaustion as it tried to wriggle free."
The Rev Richard Neill, vicar at St Peter's in Hatchet Lane, said: "I imagine whoever found it got a bit of a shock.
"It was probably somebody who came to tend to a grave who found the snake and called the RSPCA."
Grass snakes are harmless to people and pets though they are Britain's largest snake, growing up to five feet in length.
All native snakes are protected by law and it is an offence to injure or kill one.
RSPCA advice to anyone finding a snake in trouble is to call their 24 hour emergency line on 0870 555599.
If it does not appear to be a native species then it could be an escaped or abandoned pet.
Never attempt to capture an exotic snake as it could be very dangerous and need specialist handling.