Six-foot python abandoned in Burnley Tesco car park
A six-foot Burmese python has been found abandoned in a plastic tub in a Tesco car park.
A shopper called police after spotting the reptile at the store in Burnley, Lancashire, on Friday.
The container was labelled "Brazilian Rainbow Boa £170", and RSPCA staff believe the potentially dangerous constrictor may have been a newly-purchased pet.
The charity said it was "lucky to survive" and was now being cared for.
The RSPCA said it had rescued more than 700 snakes over the last year and urged people to "do their research" before buying the animals as pets.
Adult pythons can grow up to five metres (16ft) in size, and feed on small mammals such as mice.
However, when they are bought as pets they become "completely dependent" on their owners, the RSPCA said.
Their health can also quickly deteriorate if they become too cold, as they cannot regulate their own body temperature and must be kept in purpose-built vivariums.
An RSPCA spokesman added: "It must have been a shocking find to discover this snake had been callously abandoned in the car park.
"There is never an excuse for abandoning a pet as there are always options available to those who may be struggling.
"Sadly, reptiles often end up in our care after people realise they're not easy to care for, or perhaps when the novelty wears off.
"Unfortunately, many people are unaware of how much of a commitment these animals are when they take them on."