‘Albino boa constrictor’ shocks dog walker in Fareham

A man walking his dogs was left ‘shocked’ by an out-of-place sunbather – a five foot snake that appears to be an albino boa constrictor in Fareham.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 12:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 9:49 am
The snake with white and yellow marking was spotted in the Chalk Pits in Fareham.

Mark Hobbs, 57, had taken his two Malamute Huskies for a walk along the old chalk pits, off Chalk Lane, when he stumbled upon the animal last Thursday at 6pm.

Mr Hobbs said he was ‘shocked’ to see a curled up snake ‘the size of a printer basically sunbathing’ in the middle of the path.

He said: ‘The dogs were shocked, the snake was shocked, and I know I was shocked.

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‘We were just walking along when the two dogs stopped and I thought ‘my god - what is that.’

‘It was ten feet away, but I gave it a wide berth.’

Worried his sighting wouldn’t be believed, Mark used his phone to take several photos, which he uploaded to social media.

Simon Ling, owner of Ridgeway Exotics pet shop, said the snake appeared to be an albino boa constrictor.

He added: ‘It is extremely rare that any exotic animal will escape or be dumped, but on the rare occasion people feel they have no choice, then they should please contact local exotics specialist shops like my own.

‘They are not native species and require specialist care.’

Mark said: ‘If it's not native, it will be in its element with the warm weather coming up. ‘

Boa constrictors are not venomous, but they can grow large enough to encoil and suffocate people.

Mark was sympathetic to the snake's escape from captivity, saying it ‘probably did not want to be captive at the end of the day,’ but he said it would have been a ‘strange decision’ for an owner to release it in to the wild.

A spokesperson from the RSPCA said: ‘If anyone finds a snake they believe is non-native, the RSPCA’s advice is to keep a safe distance, monitor the snake, and call the charity’s helpline on 0300 1234 999.

‘We urge prospective owners of reptiles such as snakes to thoroughly research the needs of the particular species.

‘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.’