Boa constrictor 'shock' for RSPCA's South Godstone centre
Animal rescue staff in Surrey had a fright when they opened a box left outside their gate and the tail of a 6ft (1.8m) boa constrictor "shot out".
Supervisor of the RSPCA South Godstone Animal Centre Clare Hyre said staff had no idea what was inside and she had never seen anything like it.
It was the third reptile case in a week for staff at the centre who have also taken in a corn snake and three geckos.
The female boa could grow up to 10ft (3m) long and live for up to 30 years.'No air holes'
Ms Hyre said :"This long tail shot out. I got quite a fright."
She said it was lucky staff found the snake when they did.
"The box could easily have been missed and she was lucky to be alive. There were no air holes in the box or the temperature controls needed to keep a snake like this healthy," she added.
The snake was taken to the charity's specialist reptile centre at Patcham near Brighton where manager Keith Wells found her a new home.
He said the boa was in good condition and had been well looked after, and it seemed the owner was not willing or able to care for her any more.
He said: "People need to think carefully before taking on a pet like this.
"You can come across a boa in a pet shop and it's a tiny little snake, just 12in (30cm) long, but they get bigger and bigger until the owner suddenly finds they have a massive animal on their hands which they do not have space for."