Boa constrictor seen at beauty spot
A 6ft boa constrictor has been spotted at a popular beauty spot, prompting warnings to dog walkers and other members of the public.
Ed Ryder spotted the reptile while out walking with his girlfriend at Swinsty Reservoir, near Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Mr Ryder even managed to get a picture of the tail-end of the snake before it moved away.
Now Yorkshire Water, which owns the site, has warned users to be on their guard even though experts believe it is unlikely the animal poses a danger to people.
Mr Ryder said: "I'm not fond of snakes at all, I didn't even like my Grandma's snake draught excluder. I enjoy running around Swinsty and I have been wondering how to get my speed up - I don't have to worry now."
He said he spotted the snake at about 6pm on Saturday. It is believed to be an abandoned pet.
Mr Ryder, who runs Biskit Marketing, in Otley, West Yorkshire, thought it was a very big adder but experts from the Yorkshire Naturalists Union confirmed it was a boa constrictor, measuring around 6ft (1.8m).
Geoff Lomas, site manager for Yorkshire Water, said: "Over the years, we've discovered a number of escaped or unwanted exotic pets at our recreational sites across the region, such as terrapins and koi carp, but never an exotic snake more commonly found in the jungles of South America.
"Clearly there is some concern in that we have a snake, of which we know very little, including when it last ate, on the loose in a vast woodland area which is very popular with visitors from across the region. Whilst a boa constrictor is unlikely to pose a risk to humans, a lot of people walk their dogs around the site and clearly small dogs could be at a small risk from such a predator.
"With this in mind, we're saying to people, please do come to the site, but please be sensible and exercise caution when out and about, ensuring all dogs are kept on a lead. If you do spot the snake, please let us, the police or the RSPCA know as quickly as possible, and every attempt will be made to safely capture the snake and hopefully return it to its owner."