An animal charity has urged people to carefully think before buying reptiles after six snakes were abandoned outside a pet shop.
The RSPCA was called to Pets At Home in Havant on Saturday after a man found the snakes left in storage containers.
Inspector Adam Standen, who went to collect the reptiles, said a note had been left beside the snakes from someone called Dave, who pleaded for help to rehome them because he could not cope with them anymore.
It comes after kittens were found dumped in a cardboard box, found inside a bin in Portsmouth last week.
Mr Standen said: ‘Sadly, this isn’t unusual. We are finding that many people are unaware of how much of a commitment these animals are when they take them on, which we believe may be why we are rescuing hundreds of reptiles every year - and this number appears to be on the increase.’
The reptiles, four corn snakes, one common boa constrictor and one carpet python, are being cared for an exotics specialist in Bournemouth.
We are finding that many people are unaware of how much of a commitment these animals are when they take them on.Adam Standen
They are all doing well but are being treated for mites, and will remain there until the RSPCA can rehome them.
Mr Standen added: ‘Snakes are completely dependent on their owners for the correct accommodation, heating, lighting and feed, all of which must replicate their wild habitat as closely as possible to keep them healthy and allow them to express their normal behaviour.
‘Without proper care they can suffer from serious diseases, dehydration, injuries, parasites, and in severe cases or if left untreated, they can eventually die.
‘We would urge anyone who is struggling to cope with their pets to contact their local vet or rescue centre and ask for help.’
The RSPCA is investigating where the snakes came from.
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.’
There are currently dozens of snakes in the charity’s care, waiting for a new home.
Anyone with information about where the snakes came from should call the RSPCA appeal line on 0300 123 8018.
If you’re interested in taking care of a snake visit the charity’s website or call 07815 525 578.