False Water Cobra on loose in County Durham

For three days three-year-old Keegan kept telling his mother Samantha Wozencroft there was a snake in the house – but she didn’t believe him.

That was until mum saw for herself the six-feet-long false water cobra slithering through the front room of their flat.

The South American reptile, whose venom rots skin and muscle, had already bitten the tail of the family’s pet dog, English bull terrier Tyler, and was threatening to turn on others.

Horrified, the 27-year-old mum, from Ouston, County Durham grabbed Tyler, ran outside with her mother-in-law Dawn Martin and son Keegan and rang 999.

After calling in expert help, the police managed to capture the creature and take it away. They are now investigating who owns the snake and how it came to be in Ms Wozencroft’s flat.

“I was so shocked. It was just unreal. You don’t expect to walk into your kitchen and see a snake staring at you,” she said.

“I don’t feel safe there now – what if there’s more? I have a three-year-old and being told the snake was venomous is just so scary.”

Retired inspector Eddie Bell, who Durham Police called in to contain the snake, said:

“I found the snake drinking water from the dog’s cage and managed to pick it up using a snake stick.

 “The boy had been telling the mum for three days they had a snake in the house.

It is believed the snake may have been in the loft for some time but given its size it must have had access to a good food source. It may have come down into the flat when that ran out.

PC Lee Jackson said: “It’s very lucky no-one was bitten.”

Tyler the dog is now on anti-biotics and may have to have part of his tail amputated to stop the infection spreading.

False water cobras are common to South America but rarely kept as pets in the UK. Their venom comes from their rear fangs, so they must catch and chew prey before injecting.

Source – Northern Echo, 30 June 2015

Synchronicity corner : although the snake wasn’t a python, it’s a nice touch to se a PC Lee Jackson being quoted.

Python Lee Jackson was an Australian rock band active from 1965 to 1968, before a brief sojourn in the United Kingdom. The group’s most famous hit was “In a Broken Dream”, featuring Rod Stewart as guest vocalist, and recorded by John Peel.

 

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