Submitted by Steve on 09:48, 28th Jun, 2018 | 0

Trained volunteers from the GSPCA are carrying out searches of the southern area of L’Ancresse Common after a dog walker reported seeing the tail-end of a fairly large snake enter the gorse.

Police officers are liaising with John Knight, President of the GSPCA and a vet who also specialises in exotic animals, and States Vet David Chamberlain.

The sighting is unconfirmed at this stage. The dog walker reported the tail-end as being about a metre in length and several inches wide. If those measurements are accurate, Mr Knight has advised police that it could potentially be a boa or python. 

Advice received suggests it is highly unlikely that such a snake would pose a threat to either dogs or humans. However, Guernsey Police would strongly urge islanders against visiting the area in an attempt to locate the snake. Anyone doing so could make circumstances harder for the trained teams trying to find it.

Superintendent Phil Breban said: "We felt it important to inform the public about the searches and the nature of them, but we would ask people to refrain from any temptation to get involved in the search.”

“Mr Knight is an expert in this field and his team of volunteers understand the best techniques for locating the snake and determining the accuracy of the report received."

Mr Knight said: "Should the size and description reported be accurate, and we have no reason to suspect they are not although it is always understandably very difficult for people who see something unexpected like this, then we are potentially looking at a python or boa.”

“The gorse on L’Ancresse would provide a very comfy living environment and hunting ground for such a snake, and as such it would be highly unlikely to pose a threat to either humans or dogs.”

“However, until we find it we cannot be sure."

"Snakes are creatures of habit so we will use that to try and locate it.”

“It is for that reason that it is so important that people do not go searching for it themselves.”

“Increased activity in the area is likely to result in a change of habit and potentially behaviour or temperament.”

“This would make it much more difficult to find.”

“We will carry out searches at various times of the day during the next two weeks, when we believe it is most likely to emerge from the gorse.”

“Should that prove unsuccessful, we will look at alternative options."

Reptiles at the GSPCA

The GSPCA have seen a huge rise in unwanted and stray reptiles in recent years.

The species predominately being small breeds of commonly kept pets such as rat snakes, corn snakes, musk turtles, tortoise and bearded dragons. Although in the last year we have had a python, hog nose snake, skink, collared lizard, water dragon and long nose lizard.

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said “At the GSPCA we have seen a huge increase in the last few years with reptiles from those being cruelly treated to strays.”

“Also in the last month or so we have had a stray bearded dragon found in Cobo and a stray snake found in St Peter Port which was only a young corn snake.”

“Where as a few years ago we would normally see 2 or 3 lizards or snakes we have seen over 30 a year in the last two years at the GSPCA.”

“You have to think long and hard before you take on a reptile as they really do need specialised care and some like tortoise may even out live you.”

“We do have a number in need of homes at the GSPCA but none as large as the stray that has been reported on L’Ancresse common.”

“We would urge the public to follow the advice from our GSPCA President John Knight and the Guernsey Police and if you have any information please do call us on 257261.”

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