Snakes in a lane

I am always on the look out for photos of wild animals in human territory. In my collection is a deer in a cafe, a bear in a hospital and  a herd of bison on a basket ball court.

So I was impressed to hear this story. I received an email from my friend R., who lives in a smart area of South London,  which read “had a big drama yesterday, a 3 foot snake appeared on my landing and I had to call RSPCA”.

R. had been making biscuits in the kitchen of her third floor flat. When she glanced at the hallway floor, she had “the shock of her life”. A snake was lying at the top of the stairs. It had alarming rusty red and white striped markings. Not a British breed. Primeval instinctive alarm bells rang. Was it poisonous?

A few phone calls and the neighbour was at the front door. The snake hadn’t moved for a while, so R. stepped over it to let open the door. Then neighbour reassured her that it was probably more scared of her that she was of it.
The man from the RSPCA appeared, armed with a stick and a pillow case. By then the snake had made gone behind the washing machine.

The expert identified it as a Corn snake and not poisonous.  In the wild,  it would be constricting and swallowing mice and rats in fields in North America.The corn snake is often purchased as a first pet because it is cheap and docile. The snakes enter our households when the owners get bored with them and let them go.

The snake could have been living in the walls and hunger, desire for the warmth of the summer sun or plumbing works could prompted it to move on to the landing. The RSPCA man caught the snake with the stick and put it in the pillow case. He said that there had been a high number of snake call outs in area.

In the news today, cobras have left the banks of the nearby river and made their way into the brand new sports complex and athletes village of the Delhi Commonwealth games.

The endangered, venemous cobras are attracted by dry ground, trees and water, all of which are available in the new complex. Recent rains have created ideal conditions for them to breed. I guess that they are unstoppable. One has been discovered in an athlete’s apartment in a residential tower. Another Cobra, ten feet long, was found at the tennis stadium.

The story has the qualities of an animal disaster movie (which I also like). A brand new complex, glowing international athletes and storybook snake charmer style venomous cobras, easing themselves from the waters towards the sport utopia.

Photo credits: BBC Jersey, Kamalnv
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