Prolonged hot weather triggers escaping snake alert from RSPCA
June 2023 is poised to become the hottest June in history, surpassing temperature records that date all the way back to 1884, according to the Met Office.
As the UK basks in a prolonged spell of hot weather, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) Cymru has issued a warning to owners of exotic pets.
They anticipate a surge in the number of snakes making unscheduled slithers to freedom.
This alert follows a recent case in which a six-foot boa constrictor was found residing under a garden shed in Ilkeston, Derbyshire.
The snake was in good health and was rehomed at a specialist centre after the owner could not be identified.
In 2022, RSPCA across England and Wales attended to over 1,031 snake-related cases, with peak calls received between May and August.
Of these, forty-two originated from Wales, including eight from Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.
As the mercury continues to rise this summer, the charity advises snake owners to exercise additional caution and ensure their pets’ enclosures are securely fastened.
The primary cause for concern is the heightened activity levels of snakes in warmer weather, leading to an increased risk of escape.
Evie Button, RSPCA’s senior scientific officer, emphasised, “Snakes are excellent escape artists and will take the opportunity of a gap in an enclosure door, or a loose-fitting lid to make a break for it.”
Owners are also cautioned about taking their snakes outdoors to enjoy natural sunlight, which can energise the reptiles and enable them to move more swiftly. Secure handling is vital to prevent any unintended escapes.
The RSPCA also draws attention to the increasing problem of abandoned snakes.
They urge potential snake owners to thoroughly research the specific needs of the species and ensure they can meet these before adopting.
Keeping a snake requires significant commitment, as they rely entirely on their owners for their living conditions, diet, and health.
Improper care can lead to serious diseases, injuries, and dehydration, and in extreme cases, can result in death.
For more information on what to consider before adopting a snake, visit the RSPCA’s website at www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/other.
Should you find a non-native snake, keep a safe distance and call the RSPCA’s helpline on 0300 1234 999.
In case of lost snakes, it’s recommended to microchip them for easy identification and reuniting, and to report the loss to websites like Animal Search.
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