Shropshire Star

Snake found in village churchyard dies after 'being on the loose for three weeks'

A corn snake spotted in a Shropshire village three weeks ago has died after being found over the weekend.

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The corn snake after it was picked up in Pontesbury

The snake, one of the least harmful on the planet, was safely captured by a family after their 13-year-old saw it on a car park in Pontesbury after it had been spotted several weeks earlier. They handed it over to the RSPCA.

But sadly the animal charity said that although it had appeared to be doing well over the weekend it fell in on Monday and died.

The RSPCA thinks that it may have had an internal infection.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “The RSPCA would like to thank those who found this missing corn snake in Pontesbury and managed to safely confine it until we arrived. The snake appeared to be okay and had been doing well over the weekend - despite his ordeal of being on the loose for at least three weeks.

The corn snake after it was picked up in Pontesbury

“However, sadly the snake died on Monday morning after taking a turn for the worse. It is unknown what he died of but an internal infection is suspected.

“Snakes aren’t able to produce their own body heat so they rely on their environment to maintain their body temperature. If snakes become too cold they may be unable to feed or move normally, and their immune system will not work properly to fight disease, meaning the animal can become very ill.”

The snake caused consternation in Pontestbury when it was spotted on the loose three weeks ago by members of the Pontesbury Congregational Church who were sprucing up the gardens.

The corn snake after it was picked up in Pontesbury

Wendy Williams came across the 3-ft-long orange and white snake.

She gave it a nudge with her foot to check if it was real and not a late April Fools prank, but she received a shock when it reared its head. It then slithered away down a hole.

Wendy said: "We had a garden fellowship where we go out and weed the garden. I was taking up some weeds to the compost and I saw an orange snake with white markings. It was about three foot long.

"I thought it was a toy and somebody put it there as a practical joke. I went and got someone else to come and have a look. I nudged it with my foot but its head came up."

But over the weekend Lisa McAleavy's teenage son spotted it in the car park at the rear of their house in Railway Mews.

The 13-year-old knew it was the same snake as the family lives next door to the churchyard.

The corn snake after it was picked up in Pontesbury

Speaking to the Shropshire Star after the snake was found,Lisa said: "It was three weeks ago when it was first spotted and we were amazed it had survived. It didn't move much and so my husband Tom put the recycling box over it.

"We transferred it into a clear tub to bring it into the house as the weather was getting cold. It looked in really good condition even though it had been outside for so long.

"No-one came forward to claim it via social media so the RSPCA collected it in the evening."

"My son Lucas was very keen to keep it!"