Boa constrictor found slithering through south London park
A five-foot-long boa constrictor, usually found in the dense Amazon rainforest, was spotted slithering through a south London park by a stunned visitor.
The exotic pet, believed to have escaped from a local home, was rescued from the recreation ground in Surbiton by RSPCA Inspector Dale Grant.
The snake, lovingly named Lulu, has had urgent vet treatment due to respiratory issues and ulcers in its mouth after it was discovered on May 12.
Inspector Grant said: “Poor Lulu was discovered slithering through a local park in Surbiton in poor condition, following a call from a member of the public. We’re grateful they called as she would not have survived if she’d been left without vet treatment.
“We hope she will make a full recovery, she’s now in the specialist care of our vets and will hopefully be moved to our reptile unit at Brighton Animal Centre.”
Boa constrictors’ diets are composed mostly of small mammals like rats and squirrels but are known to dine on monkeys, pigs and deer in their natural habitat across central southern American rainforests.
Boas are not venomous; rather, they kill their prey by constriction, or squeezing, it to death. Once the prey is dead, the monster reptile, which can grow up to 13 ft long, swallows it whole.
The animal charity said exotic pets appear to be increasing in popularity and the number of related incidents dealt with by the RSPCA has risen in recent years.
He added: “The needs of exotics can be challenging to meet because they are fundamentally linked to certain behaviours, diets or environmental conditions in the animal’s natural environment that can be difficult to replicate in a home.
“Unlike cats or dogs these animals have not undergone years of domestication, therefore they are wild animals kept in captivity and their needs are the same as in the wild.”
The RSPCA is experiencing widespread neglect of exotic animals across the country and the charity believes that for some people an exotic animal represents too much of a commitment.
The charity urges potential owners to research and look into what is required in the care of their exotic pet first before taking one on.
It came weeks after a Mexican Black Kingsnake was found by a stunned dogwalker as they passed through an alleyway in Chingford.