Large corn snake discovered in Caernarfon sewage system may have been flushed down toilet

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

A large snake that could have been flushed down a toilet has been discovered at Caernarfon’s Dŵr Cymru Treatment Works.

RSPCA Cymru was alerted after the Carolina corn snake was spotted by an unsuspecting employee on Thursday, November 9 down a chamber in the sewage system at the treatment works.

It is believed the snake entered the sewage system after escaping via a toilet, or being flushed down one.

RSPCA inspector Andrew Broadbent attended soon after the call, and managed to retrieve the snake from sewage intake.

Fortunately, the snake appeared bright, alert and unharmed by the ordeal – and was kept in RSPCA care overnight before being transferred to specialist facilities.

RSPCA Cymru say the incident acts as “another timely reminder” as to the challenges of caring for exotic animals, and have highlighted to those owning snakes the importance of appropriate accommodation.

Anyone with information about who may own the snake is urged to contact the RSPCA’s inspectorate appeal line.

RSPCA inspector Andrew Broadbent said: “This was certainly an unusual call to deal with - with staff from Dŵr Cymru spotting this snake in the sewage system.

“I arrived at the scene to find the adult Carolina corn snake perched on a metal assembly a few inches above the raw sewage flowing into the works. With the assistance of staff, I was able to reach down and retrieve the snake.

“This is another timely reminder as to some of the challenges faced by caring for exotic pets, such as snakes. It is vital accommodation is appropriate and secure.

“It seems likely this snake was escaped down a toilet, or was flushed down one – so we’re urging anyone with information about where this snake may have come from to contact our inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018. Calls are treated in confidence.”

Keith Bridge, Welsh Water’s maintenance engineer who made the discovery, said: "We took the cover off the manhole and saw this ‘pink thing’! I looked closer and realised that it was a snake.

"It was around three to four foot and while I didn’t know if it was poisonous or not, I knew that it wasn’t from this country.

"This was the last thing I expected to see in the sewer and I was worried that it would get hurt if we didn’t remove it. I contacted the RSPCA immediately and they responded quickly to rescue the snake.”

Reptiles appear to have increased in popularity as pets and the number of related incidents dealt with by the RSPCA has gone up in recent years.

They are completely reliant on their owners to provide the correct environment for the species, including heating and lighting, and so it is lucky this snake was found.

RSPCA Cymru urges potential new owners to research and look into what is required in the care of their pet before taking one on, so they know what is involved and how long it is likely to be for.

Anyone who would like further information on how to care for exotic animals such as reptiles should visit: www.rspca.org.uk/exotics

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