Runaway snake is in the bag

06:00 17 July 2014

A corn snake

A corn snake


Residents in Manor Road were given a fright last week when they spotted a brightly coloured snake slithering through gardens in the area.

Police managed to trap the runaway reptile on Wednesday (July 9) after receiving several reports of sightings over the past 10 days – but not before it had bitten an officer.

The critter was subsequently identified as a non-venomous corn snake – but had been a cause for concern for residents, who were worried it could be dangerous.

Manor Road resident Barbara Dustan-Smith said a painter working on the outside of a house in the street first spotted the snake on Tuesday last week (July 1), but it slithered into nearby bushes before he could take a picture.

“This is certainly not a native English snake, so must be someone’s pet, or an escapee from somewhere,” she said.

“People are quite worried because a few neighbours have little dogs and they are concerned in case it is dangerous.”

Following the initial sighting, the snake was seen twice on Saturday (July 5) – once in Manor Road and later in Seafield Road.

Tim Vause spotted the serpent making its way across tarmac near his home whilst out on his bike on Saturday evening.

“I nearly ran it over,” said the Seafield Road resident. “It went straight in front of me and came to a stop in some leaves by the side of the road.”

Police attended a further report in Cotmaton Road at 4.30pm on Wednesday.

PCSO Phil Thomas said that the snake had made its way into the garden of a residential home in Cottington Mead, where officers managed to get it in to a bag.

He said: “One of the officers was bitten on the forearm, and taken to the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital as a precautionary measure in case the animal had tetanus.”

The snake was described as being around a metre long, with red, black and orange hoops on its body.

PCSO Thomas said that the snake was collected and identified by the owners of Exeter Exotics, who are hoping to reunite the animal with its owner.

The reptile retailer in the city centre can be contacted on 01392 213480 or through their Facebook page at


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