Exotic snake found dead on John Vorster Road

The snake as it was found in a plastic bag by Mandy Robinson and Helga Tsoumbris. Photo supplied.
The snake as it was found in a plastic bag by Mandy Robinson and Helga Tsoumbris. Photo supplied.

An exotic pet snake was found dead in a plastic bag in a dustbin on the corner of Dale Lace Avenue and John Vorster Road in Randpark Ridge on 16 February. The snake, identified as a red tail boa constrictor, was taken to the vet after resident Helga Tsoumbris was alerted to its presence.

Mandy Robinson of Spaniel Rescue South Africa and Tsoumbris, a private animal rescuer, found the snake in a plastic bag in a dustbin and took the snake to the local vet. X-rays revealed crushed vertebrate and a twisted spine, which suggests the cause of death was it being hit by a vehicle. A scan to determine the presence of a microchip proved fruitless.

The red tail boa was identified to be about three years old, 1,65m in length and weighed 1,7kg. The absence of skin conditions, scabs, lesions, lice and that it is indigenous to South America suggests the snake was a local resident’s pet. “The snake would have been a pet since the red tail is very popular in the pet trade,” commented Jonathan Leeming, a conservationist, professional speaker, and author with 20 years of experience working with venomous creatures,

“A dead snake is harmless so you can dispose of it. If it is alive, call the local SPCA and they will have the relevant contacts to deal with the situation. Some snakes do play dead, such as the rinkhals snake and the spitting cobra. I don’t recommend people pick up snakes. If you want to make sure, poke it with a long stick,” said Leeming.

Tsoumbris confirmed the vet would preserve the animal and possibly give it to a school for their natural science department.

Details:Randburg SPCA, 011 462 1610/50; Roodepoort SPCA, 011 672 0448; Johannesburg SPCA, 011 681 3600.

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Amy Ingram
Journalist

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