The sighting of what was believed to be a venomous snake on top of a rubbish bin turned out to be something much less deadly.
RSPCA officer Ron Crawford attended the scene in County Durham, UK, after a member of the public reported a snake on top of a wheelie bin on December 11 (local time).
However, a closer inspection revealed it to be a rubber toy.
"The caller had managed to secure it in a plastic tub before calling us for help, describing it as a brown snake that had been abandoned,” Mr Crawford said.
Once on the scene the officer said it was obvious this snake was no of the deadly variety.
"Once I arrived at the scene I quickly realised this wasn't your usual snake abandonment – and the snake in question was in fact a toy!” he said.
Although Mr Crawford was able to see the funny side of the callout, he said abandoned snakes are not uncommon.
"Unfortunately, we are called out to a lot of snakes that have been abandoned, often by owners who have taken them on without realising how much of a commitment they are and without understanding the specialist care they need,” he said.
It’s believed the toy snake was designed to look like a cobra so although it was awkward to explain to the caller who found the ‘snake’ that it wasn’t real, it could have been much more serious.
"The caller was lucky it was rubber and not real – cobras can be extremely dangerous,” Mr Crawford said.
The RSPCA said members of the public should treat any unidentified animal with caution and not to try to handle it if its species is not clear.
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