Exotic snake found dumped near recycling bins in Paddington

The snake was dumped in a bin at Cleveland Square near Paddington Station (Pic: Westminster Station)

The snake was dumped in a bin at Cleveland Square near Paddington Station (Pic: Westminster Station) - Credit: Archant

A snake has been found dumped in a box next to recycling bins in Paddington.

The snake was found next to these recyling bins in Cleveland Square (Pic: Westminster Station)

The snake was found next to these recyling bins in Cleveland Square (Pic: Westminster Station) - Credit: Archant

The slippery exotic reptile, with red-brown patches, was discovered by a street cleaner who noticed an ‘odd-looking box’ at Cleveland Square near Paddington Station.

Tom Elmer who works for Veolia, Westminster Council’s cleaning contactors, initially thought it was an old fish tank before noticing the snake moving inside.

The tank had clips on the side so the snake wasn’t able to get out but it could have been found by a child.

Mr Elmer said: “The snake was longer than my arm. Our foreman was pretty shaken up and I had to stop him from running off down the road.

“It’s odd because I’ve always wanted a snake as a pet. I asked my partner if we could keep the snake but unfortunately she wasn’t having any of it!”

The snake’s owner may never been traced because the bins are communal and there are a large number of flats on the street.

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It has been taken to the Putney Animal Hospital while the RSPCA tries to find it a new home and has been identified as a corn snake, one of the top five exotic animal species coming into RSPCA care due to abandonment, neglect or welfare issues.

They are non-poisonous but they bear a strong resemblance to the venomous copperhead.

A RSPCA spokesman said: “We can only presume this poor snake was just dumped out with the rubbish. This is such a callous way to treat a pet. Corn snakes such as this one need very specific care and conditions to be able to live a happy and healthy life.

“Caring for reptiles can be challenging and expensive; the animal may grow very large, live for a long time. They have the same needs as in the wild, which must be met in captivity by law under the Animal Welfare Act.

“If you spot an escaped non-native snake, our advice would be to keep a safe distance and call the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.”

Cllr Melvyn Caplan, Westminster Council’s cabinet member for city management, added: “We are always keen to encourage more recycling but this is really irresponsible behaviour.

“Just to make absolutely clear, you cannot recycle snakes or any pets for that matter. Well done to Tom for his quick thinking to protect the animal’s welfare and thank you to the RSPCA for stepping in.”