Snake scare on Spennymoor garage roof turns out to be pet missing for a year

It was first spotted in a resident's garden. Credit: RSPCA

A snake that shocked a homeowner in County Durham turned out to be a pet that had been missing for a year.

The RSPCA were called to an area in Spennymoor after reports that a three foot-long snake had been spotted in a resident’s garden on 18 March.

Inspector John Lawson rescued the reptile from a nearby garage roof using a sweeping brush handle.

A neighbour came over to see the spectacle, only to recognise the snake as her own pet - Agnus the corn snake who had gone missing a year ago.

Insp Lawson said: “I think it came as a bit of a shock for the resident when they found a snake in their garden and they did the right thing trying to keep an eye on it.

“I had no idea where she had gone until someone spotted her on the garage roof. There were a lot of squawking crows around so I suspect one of them had picked the snake up and then dropped her when they realised they had bitten off more than they could chew.

“After I rescued the snake a resident living nearby came over and was absolutely delighted as it was her missing pet from a year ago called Agnus!"

The rescue charity is now rehoming Agnus. Credit: RSPCA

The RSPCA inspector said he was "gobsmacked" that the reptile had survived so long.

He said: “Snakes aren’t able to produce their own body heat so they rely on their environment to maintain their body temperature. If snakes become too cold they may be unable to feed or move normally, and their immune system will not work properly to fight disease, meaning the animal can become very ill and often die.”

The corn snake was taken to a vet for a check up and she was found to have a respiratory infection from being outside in the cold and was treated for this.

The RSPCA said that the vet believes Agnus had gone into brumation mode (similar to hibernation) and her body had shut down in order to survive.

The snake has made a full recovery in RSPCA care and due to a change in circumstances the owner made the decision to allow the animal welfare charity to rehome her.

The rescue charity said: "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.

"They need an enclosure which is kept secure - and locked if necessary - when unattended."

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