Snakes alive! Five-foot Burmese python caught

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Where’s St Patrick when you need him? Our patron saint famously drove the snakes out of Ireland but it looks they are back.

The ISPCA is appealing for information after a five-foot Burmese python was found abandoned in the Wicklow Mountains over the weekend. The snake was discovered by a local farmer before a representative from the ISPCA then secured the snake, which is believed to be female.

The snake was found to be underweight, dehydrated and injured and has been placed in the care of a reptile specialist, said the ISPCA. She has been named Sammi by rescuers, and is described as “hanging in there” – but it is still very uncertain as to whether she will pull through.

The Burmese python is one of the five largest species of snakes in the world. Chief Inspector of the ISPCA Conor Dowling said that in addition to the potentially illegal release of a non-native species, there are numerous possible offences under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.

“This snake did not make its own way up the Wicklow Mountains and we believe that it was abandoned and left in an environment not suited to an animal of this type.  “We suspect that it had been abandoned some days prior to her discovery but we also have reason to be concerned about the care that it was receiving prior to its release,” he said.

“Animals such as Sammi have very specialised environmental requirements and will suffer slow, lingering deaths in normal Irish weather conditions,” he added. During the exceptional summer last year, the ISPCA rescued two snakes which were active due to the warm weather.

“It raises the question how many animals of this type are out there dying slowly after being discarded by irresponsible owners that no longer want them,” said Mr Dowling.

The ISPCA is calling for stronger regulations around the breeding, keeping and selling of exotic animals as pets.

Those who have information about the python are asked to contact the ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline on 1890 515 515, report it on the ISPCA website or email [email protected] in confidence.

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