A jogger got the fright of his life when he stumbled across a 7ft boa constrictor while out running.
The massive snake was coiled up inside a brown pillow case which had been stuffed into a bush.
It’s thought its owner “just no longer wanted him” and abandoned the exotic reptile in St Neots, Cambs., rather than try to re-home it.
The runner took the non-poisonous snake home until it was collected by the RSPCA who has urged the owner to come forward.
RSPCA inspector Stephen Reeves said: “Sadly this is not unusual for us to be called to collect an abandoned snake.
“We believe people are unaware of how much of a commitment these animals are, and once they grow in size they can no longer cope.
“The RSPCA is rescuing over 1,500 reptiles every year, and this number appears to be on the increase.
“This snake appeared to be in good health, so we can only guess that the owner just no longer wanted him and decided to dump him, when they should have contacted their local reptile rescue centre for help.”
The charity now wants to re-home the snake, which has been taken to South Essex Wildlife Hospital after it was found on November 29.
RSPCA exotics senior scientific officer Nicola White said: “We are seeing a worrying number of snakes coming into our centres, because owners are no longer able to care for them.
“The main thing we want to stress to people who are thinking about bringing an exotic pet into their family is to think before they buy – research the needs of the animal thoroughly and make sure that you can provide everything that animal needs for the animal’s entire life.
“We want to make sure these animals, who have already endured so much in their lives, are matched with the right person so they need never end up back in a rescue environment again.”
Boa constrictors are non-venomous and are typically found in Central and South America.
They can grow up to 13ft long, weigh more than 45.5kg and suffocate their victims by wrapping their body around them.
Anyone with information as to who may own the snake or who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously where the snake was found is urged to call the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018.