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McDonald's workers were left surprised to find what they thought was a native British adder injured in front of the resident.
But their shock was only made worse when, after rescuing the wounded creature, they discovered the 5ft-long snake was actually a terrifying boa constrictor.
Staff at the McDonald's branch in Bogor Regis, West Sussex, gathered to help save the injured snake, more typically found in tropical rainforests of Central and South America, before boxing it up and handing it to the RSPCA.
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RSPCA Inspector Hannah Nixon, who answered the call, said: “Based on the report that was phoned in, I was expecting an adder, which is a fairly common native British snake.
“But when I peeked in the box, I was confronted with a full 5ft of boa constrictor – a full, non-native snake and not what I was expecting at all.
“The poor animal did look like he had been in the wars a bit, with a few scratches and cuts, so I have taken him to our Stubbington Ark animal centre in Fareham, Hampshire, to get him checked out.”
Nixon believes the boa is likely an escaped pet, as these types of snakes don't typically survive in the kind of weather conditions usually found in the UK.
The RSPCA claimed snake owners often take their pets outside on warm summer days and that while sunlight is good for the reptiles, pets should remain secure as in the hot weather they can warm up and start moving quickly.
“Snakes are excellent escape artists and will take the opportunity of a gap in an enclosure door, or a loose-fitting lid to make a break for it," Nixon added.
“Last year, we took over 1,200 reports about snakes, with the highest number of calls coming in during the summer months. This is not surprising, as snakes become more active during hot weather.
“So we would urge all pet snake owners to be extra vigilant at this time of year, invest in an enclosure suitable for the particular species and make sure that enclosure is kept secure and locked, if necessary, when unattended.”
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She explained pets like snakes often end up in the care of the RSPCA as they can often be more of a handful than prospective owners might realise.
"Exotic pets such as snakes often end up in the RSPCA’s care after people realise they're not easy to care for, or the novelty wears off," she said.
"Others are rescued after they have been abandoned or been released on purpose, which then could pose a risk to our native wildlife."
Boa constrictors are non-venomous snakes, instead killing their pray by wrapping their long and muscular bodies tightly around their victims.
It was previously believed the killer snakes suffocated their victims, but new research shows that their true technique is to cut off blood circulation, causing victims to pass out before their organs fail.
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