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Posted by W von Papinešu on May 08, 2003 at 18:20:29:
EVENING CHRONICLE (Newcastle, UK) 08 May 03 Park scales new wildlife heights! (Rob Kennedy)
Two exotic snakes have been found in a North East park in just over a week.
The second, an exotic three-and-a-half-foot Colombian rainbow boa constrictor was, bizzarely, found in Washington.
As revealed in later editions of last night's Chronicle, police officers were called to the scene and are now trying to work out where it has come from.
The snake was spotted in undergrowth at Shepherds Way, near the James Steel Park in Fatfield.
Officers called to the scene yesterday managed to box the boa and called in the RSPCA. It is now at the Reptile Trust in Burnopfield.
Last week a similar snake measuring 5ft was found sliding across the very park near where the latest one was found.
The non-poisonous reptiles are usually found on forest floors in warmer climates, but are popular among keepers.
No one knows where the pair have come from but it was thought the first snake to be found was a lost family pet.
Stuart Dodsworth, curator at the Reptile Trust, said: "This second one is not as cold as the one found before. The first was freezing but, luckily, this one was found during a warmer spell.
"It has to be warm and humid for them to survive. It is unusual for the same species to turn up in the same area.
"The chances are they have got away or someone has become bored with them."
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: "We are now appealing to anyone who may have any information about how these snakes got to be in the park."
We reported last week how a 5ft boa constrictor was found in a car park in Washington.
A member of the public came across the snake and rang the police.
PC Angela Hartas, a former vet, went to James Steel Park in Fatfield, Washington, and found the Colombian rainbow snake in the car park.
After grabbing a nearby box, PC Hartas captured the snake and called in animal experts from the RSPCA.
The snake was also taken along to the Reptile Trust to recover.
Anyone with information should call Washington area command on (0191) 454 7555 or the Reptile Trust on (01207) 271 766.
THE JOURNAL (Newcastle, UK) 08 May 03 Is there a snake out in the grass? (Rajeshreee Sisodia)
A second boa constrictor found loose near a Tyne and Wear town park has sparked fears that other snkes could have been abandoned in the area.
Police believe both animals, which are about three feet long, could have been deliberately dumped and are now trying to trace the owner.
A non-poisonous Columbian rainbow boa constrictor was found in undergrowth near James Steel Park, in Washington, on Tuesday.
It is the second snake to be found in the area recently - another boa was found in the car park next to the park 12 days ago.
Both animals are now being cared for by staff at the Reptile Trust, Burnopfield, County Durham and have been named Basil and Jeffrey.
Both are around four years old and are recovering after their ordeal, but both also remain homeless, despite efforts by police to find their owners.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said officers could not be sure other snakes had not been abandoned in the area.
She said: "We are appealing for anyone who knows anybody who got fed up with their pets, or has any information on people who keep such reptiles to let us know, so we can make sure they are handed over to a safe environment rather than left in a park. We don't want to cause any fear or panic, but we honestly don't know whether there are any more snakes out there.
"So if anyone has any information about someone who has lost their pets, we would appeal for them to get in touch with us."
Peter Heathcote, Reptile Trust chief executive, said he believed the animals - who live on rodents - had been abandoned and added that Reptile Trust staff had been keeping a close eye on their progress.
He said: "We have two snakes of the same species, from the same region, found in the same place. We think this has been an abandonment rather than a loss.
"They are a lovely golden brown, they are a very attractive snake and are both in reasonable health, but being on the loose in Washington, they are not going to live very long.
"They would have had a supply of food but they would not be warm enough to be able to digest it. We have been looking at the snakes, monitoring them.
"For reptiles, it's a long process of recovery from when they've had a traumatic experience."
Anyone with information about the snakes can call Washington Police Area Command on (0191) 454-7555.