Hunt for pet-eating python as 9ft snake goes on the loose in Cambridge

Hunt for pet-eating python as 9ft snake goes on the loose in CambridgeRabbit and chicken owners in Cambridge have been warned to be vigilant following the escape of a nine-foot reticulated python. The non-venomous snake is unlikely to pose a threat to human life but could make small animals like rabbits and chickens its prey. Police in Cambridgeshire received reports that a snake had been spotted near Lovell Road in Cambridge. In the early hours of Sunday morning officers attended the area but failed to spot the animal. The snake's owners have been located and provided police with details on the animal. Steve Allain, chairman of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Amphibian and Reptile Group said the escaped reptile poses a threat to rabbits, chickens and potentially dogs and cats but added that the latter two pets are more like to be able to defend themselves if attacked.  Mr Allain said the threat posed depends on when the animal last ate.  “We don’t when it last fed or how hungry it is or how determined it is to find a meal,” Mr Allain said.  Mr Allain said the “snake could be anywhere” and would be easier to locate during the colder winter months when it would seek warmth.  “With the hot weather this weekend, it will be comfortable in most places. During the winter, the first place you would look would be in and around cars where they seek the warmth of the engine.” An Indonesian woman was swallowed by a 23-foot reticulated python last year but Mr Allain said this smaller creature does not pose a similar threat.  The RSPCA advised anyone that encounters the creature not to approach it. “If anyone finds a snake they believe is non-native the RSPCA’s advice is to keep a safe distance, monitor the snake and call the charity’s helpline on 0300 1234 999,” a spokeswoman said.  Reticulated pythons are the world's longest snake, native to south-east Asia and can grow up to 31.5 feet, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica. They are not venomous. In May, Cambridgeshire Constabulary found a large orange and black striped corn snake out and about. "Road policing officers got a bit of a shock this morning when they came across thissss snake in the grass on Arbury Road in Cambridge," police said on Twitter. The snake was taken to a wildlife centre in Stretham. Anyone who sees the latest snake is asked to notify police on 101.

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