A COUPLE discovered a live 4ft python left inside a sack on a footpath.
A dog walker was in Blackwell Close in St Leonards last Wednesday, January 27, when he spotted a black sack on the path.
His dog approached it and when the sack moved, he opened it up, expecting to find puppies or kittens.
But to his surprise, a royal python slithered out.
With the help of his partner, the dog walker managed to confine the snake in a pillowcase and called the RSPCA.
Animal rescue officer Julie Parson arrived at the scene and moved the snake into a basket with a hot water bottle covered with blankets to try to warm him up.
She said: “We are so very grateful to the couple who did all they could to help this poor snake. They really did go the extra mile to help.
“The dog walker had a huge surprise when he found it was a snake inside the bag and not a kitten or a puppy.
“The snake was so cold from being outside that he was very lethargic – I kept him as warm as I could in the cage and then had the heating on in my van full blast so that I could try to warm him up as I rushed him to a nearby vet.”
The snake, which was not injured but was very thin, was kept at the vets overnight and was later transferred to a specialist facility.
The RSPCA is appealing to anyone with any information regarding the python to contact its appeal line on 0300 123 8018.
A spokesman for the animal charity said: “Sadly it is not unusual for the RSPCA to be called to collect snakes that appear to have been abandoned as people are unaware of how much of a commitment these animals are when purchasing them.
“The RSPCA urges prospective owners of reptiles to thoroughly research the needs of the particular species and what is required in the care of the animal, using expert sources, and only consider keeping one if they can ensure they are fully able to provide for these needs.”
Royal pythons, also known as ball pythons, are native to West and Central Africa and can grow to about 1.5m.
They are not venomous but may bite under stress or if they smell food.
Anyone who discovers a stray exotic snake is advised to keep a safe distance and to call the RSPCA helpline on 0300 1234 999 and monitor the animal until rescuers arrive.