AN Orford pensioner has spoken of his shock when his three grandchildren told him they had spotted a snake in his garden.

Robert Bate had settled down to watch television yesterday evening, Tuesday, while his three grandchildren played in the garden of his Hughes Avenue home.

After a few minutes, they came inside to tell him there was a snake, which they later discovered to be native of North America, slithering around outside.

The 83-year-old thought they were kidding around – until he went outside and saw the snake for himself.

He said: “I just thought they were trying to wind me up until they said ‘no granddad there really is a snake outside’.

“I went to look and could see he was about a foot long – and did not look happy.

“A neighbour was trying to keep a watch on the snake, but he kept striking and looked very angry.

“I was worried about whether he was a danger so we just kept away and called the RSPCA.”

Warrington Guardian:

Animal rescuer Anthony Joynes went to the house at 8.30pm and found that the snake had taken refuge in a tight gap under Robert’s shed.

“I used my torch to try to see where the snake was as it was getting dark, and he must have thought it was a heat source so he came towards me,” he explained.

“When the head came out from the gap I managed to use my snake hook to safely capture him and realised he was a non-venomous striped corn snake.

“He was a feisty snake and was striking quite a lot – I think he was hungry and cold.

“I took him into care overnight and he seemed much brighter having been fed and in a warmer environment.”

Snakes are ectothermic, so they rely on their environment to maintain their body temperature or they can become very ill and can perish.

Anthony added: “It was really lucky that this snake was spotted as in the cold he would not survive, and he was clearly a young snake as he was only about a foot long.

“He is in good health, so he may be an escaped pet, and I am hoping that an owner will come forward and claim him.

Warrington Guardian:

“Many of the snakes that the RSPCA’s officers are called to collect are thought to be escaped pets, and corn snakes in particular are excellent escape artists.

“The RSPCA would always recommend owners invest in an enclosure suitable for the particular species and that the enclosure is kept secure, and locked if necessary, when unattended to prevent accidental escape.

“I am just grateful that Robert reported the matter to us, as this baby snake would have struggled to survive in cold temperatures.”

The snake is now in the care of the RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Nantwich, and it will remain there to see if an owner comes forward.

If not, he will then be transferred into the care of a specialist reptile keeper.

It is possible to microchip snakes, and the RSPCA would recommend that owners ask their exotics vet to do this so that snakes can be easily reunited if lost and found.

The RSPCA would always recommend that anyone who sees a stray exotic snake keep a safe distance, call the charity’s helpline on 0300 1234 999 and monitor the animal until an officer arrives.