NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

No criminal action over Scottish SPCA snake death

Green mamba Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The snake was thought to be a green mamba

No criminal action will be taken after the Scottish SPCA killed what was thought to be one of the world's most deadly snakes.

The suspected green mamba was found on a ship that had docked in Aberdeen from west Africa in November.

The snake died after it was placed in a freezer by the animal charity. It was later identified as a harmless snake.

Police Scotland received a complaint, but it has now been decided that no further action will be taken.

The snake - which turned out to be a green tree snake - was put in a freezer after attempts to rehome it with specialist reptile keepers failed.

Primary consideration

The Scottish SPCA said staff had genuinely believed it was a green mamba, and safety had to be paramount.

The group Animal Concern contacted Police Scotland after receiving complaints from members of the public.

Animal Concern's John Robins has now received an email from Police Scotland explaining that the matter would not be taken further.

It stated: "The decisions made and actions taken at the time were done with their primary consideration being public safety.

"The chief inspector from Scottish SPCA took the decision using the information she had at the time which pointed to the fact this was a deadly green mamba.

"With this in mind the decision has been made that there will be no criminal proceedings in relation to this incident."

'Review of procedures'

Mr Robins said: "We were surprised about the case. A review of procedures would be positive."

The western green mamba feeds on small animals and rodents and is mainly found in the coastal tropical rainforests of western Africa.

Experts say its bite can be fatal in as little as 30 minutes.

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