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Snake owners urged to keep enclosures secure
Cyrus was rescued by RSPCA inspector Richard Lythgoe.

RSPCA inspectors rescue false water cobra from wardrobe
The RSPCA has issued advice to snake owners after it rescued a false water cobra from underneath a wardrobe.

The organisation says it was called in for help after the 5.5ft venomous snake escaped while its carer was topping up its water. While the species is not listed on the Dangerous Wild Animal Act 1976, it can deliver a painful bite.

“Caution must be taken when caring for a false water cobra, as a bite could be painful and produce localised swelling and bruising,” said RSPCA exotics senior scientific officer Nicola White. “It’s important that anyone keeping a false water cobra makes sure that the enclosure is secure and locked, to prevent escape.”

She continued: “If a venomous snake does accidentally escape and you do not have the necessary experience to confine the snake yourself then please do call for help immediately from the local police. Keep people and pets away from the area and don’t take any risks.”  

Aimee, who did not want to give her surname, was looking after her friend’s false water cobra while he was on holiday. A keen snake owner herself, Aimee owns a 9ft-long boa and a Mexican kingsnake.

“I was looking after him for a week and we were filling up his water and he made a dash for it,” she explained. “He folded like an accordion, he was a lot more flexible than I expected. He got trapped under the wardrobe and I panicked a little bit.”

She added: “I wouldn’t have worried if it was one of my snakes, which are non-venomous, but I was concerned about him being there with the kids and my other pets in the house.”

The snake, named Cyrus, was rescued by RSPCA inspector Richard Lythgoe, who was on call for out-of-hours emergencies in the area. He found Cyrus trapped under a fabric wardrobe in one of the bedrooms.

“He was stuck underneath the weight of the clothes and she felt she wanted some help in order to catch him safely,” he explained. “As we emptied the wardrobe he darted out and we were able to catch him and confine him. I have never seen a snake move so fast!”

Richard said that it is always important to be cautious when approaching any situation involving venomous snakes, due to the risks the animals can pose.

“We wanted to make sure Cyrus wasn’t injured in any way so we carefully emptied the wardrobe and managed to safely catch him using my long hook,” he continued. “Thankfully Cyrus wasn’t injured and was quickly returned to his vivarium. I understand he is now back with his owner and is doing well.”

Image (C) RSPCA

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