Shropshire Star

Giant albino boa constrictor found underweight and poorly in Shropshire country lane

A 6ft-long albino boa constrictor found far from home on a Shropshire country road has been rescued and taken in by a pet shop.

The huge boa Ben rescued

The underweight snake was found on a road just outside Baschurch on Saturday afternoon by a number of motorists, and taken to a pet shop by Ben Hawkes.

Mr Hawkes and his 13-year-old son Coen found the huge creature sunning itself on the road, and after saving it from being run over with the help of Patrick Phillips and Sophie-Leah Preston, who also happened on the scene, they very carefully transported it by car to Abbie's Pets & Exotics in Shrewsbury after the family-run shop offered to take it in.

Ben explained that the snake might have been resting, exhausted from recently shedding its skin.

"I was mostly certain it was a boa, and shouldn't be risky to pick up as long as I kept a gentle hold near its head in case it became aggressive. If I had any doubts about what kind of snake it was, I would have stayed a long way away!

"Once we had the snake bundled up in a blanket inside a shopping basket (the shopping basket that Sophie happened to have in her car) me and my son took it for a ride to Abbie's Pets in Shrewsbury - it was Sophie's idea to call them.

"All the time, Coen had his hand on the blanket to make sure the snake didn't find its way out. He was a little nervous - we don't usually travel with a 6ft snake in the car - and he could feel the snake moving around in the blanket, but we got there with no mishaps.

"The staff at Abbie's were great. Their reptile expert checked him/her over and answered all our questions. The snake will have a home there until it's well enough to go to a new owner.

"He/she perked up a lot after warming up in the shop - seems to have a bit of a respiratory infection because of the cold air, but the folk at Abbie's will take care of 'snakey', and hopefully will be able to find a home for it."

At the shop the snake was checked over and a bearded dragon was shifted from an enclosure so the huge snake can be comfortable - but it will be moved to a larger vivarium as soon as possible.

Sarah Smout, who works at the family business, said that the snake may have been left on its own intentionally.

"It's very underweight so if it has gone missing it's been missing a while. A lot of people have been abandoning pets sadly."

The rescued snake is on a diet of small rats for now until it builds up the strength to eat larger rats and gain a healthier weight.

It hasn't yet been decided what will happen to the snake when it is back at full fitness, but Sarah has sounded out some small zoos to see if they could take in the albino reptile in the future.

"Obviously it's had a rough start to life so we don't want it to go somewhere where it could potentially [be abandoned] again," said Sarah.

"It is looking a bit sorry for itself. It's probably going to be a few months."

She explained that the snake showed signs of having recently shed its skin and suffered from some sores around its eyes.