An exotic animal enthusiast says she is saddened by the fact reptiles are often not cared for in the same way as ‘cuter’ pets after a 6ft boa constrictor was abandoned by its owners.
Staff at Bovingdon’s exotic pet store Ameyzoo have been caring for the struck-down snake, which is suffering respiratory problems, since it was handed over by the RSPCA due to the store’s expert reptilian knowledge.
The enormous creature, which in the wild kills its prey by squeezing it, had previously been dumped in a filthy enclosure at Hemel Hempstead’s Barton Lodge Veterinary Centre by its owners, who haven’t been traced.
Store manager Siouxsie Gillett said: “This is a beautiful snake which, other than a reptile version of a cold, is in good condition.
“We have already found a good home with a nice keeper who comes into the store a lot, so there is a happy ending to this story.
“But it is a shame someone has treated a snake in this way.
“Reptiles get a bad deal - because they’re not cute and fluffy like a cat or dog, people don’t care as much.
“Snakes aren’t vocal like some other pets, so people don’t seem to think or believe they can suffer.”
Siouxsie, who is medicating the snake and nursing it back to full health before handing it over to its new – and more caring – owner, urged pet owners to take their animals’ welfare seriously.
She said: “Any animal you take on, whether it’s exotic or your ordinary cat or dog, you have to think it through and ensure you have the time and can afford the upkeep.”