A mum-of-two was terrified after she claims she spotted one of the world’s deadliest snakes slithering out of a hole in her ceiling.
The woman, who lives in Luton with her young sons, believes she saw a Russell’s viper – whose poison can clot the blood – emerging from her kitchen ceiling.
The slippery character, also known as a ‘bora snake’ appeared on the night of Wednesday, November 16, lowering itself onto the family’s fridge, and the mum had to call her neighbour to help catch the reptile as it was so late at night.
She said: “A loud bang came from my kitchen and when I went inside and turned on the light a massive 3ft bora snake was hissing from my ceiling.
“In the end a neighbour got it for me, and then the owner [who lives nearby] spotted what was going on! My landlord is housing association Aldwyck, who were not helpful by any means.”
However, Julian Clare, manager of Wrigglies Exotic Pets, Dunstable, contacted the Luton News to help identify the snake. He said: “I’ve looked at the photo and it’s definitely a boa constrictor - I know that the numbers of people who keep the Russell’s viper in England are very low.
“A boa is less dangerous to the public and would likely be cold and lethargic in these temperatures. I believe that if it had been left another thirty minutes outside of a warm enclosure it probably would have died.”
The Russell’s Viper (daboia russelii) can grow up to one metre long and its bite can cause death. It is found in areas across Asia, including India, Pakistan, Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
Its bite can cause local swelling, problems relating to impaired blood clotting, acute renal failure and neurotoxicity.
In the Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka, up to 73 per cent of all people admitted for snake bites are attributed to this species.
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “The Russell’s viper is very dangerous. It is one of five snake species in India that can cause death.
“The Russell’s viper is a member of Viperidae family, and therefore keepers would require a licence to keep them in the UK, under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. Licences are issued by local authority. Inspections undertaken to ensure animals are securely contained and kept in suitable environment.”
The mum did not involve the RSPCA with the incident.
A spokesperson from Aldwyck Housing said: “Aldwyck was alerted that one of its residents reported the sighting of a snake in their property, and after a full and thorough investigation it was in fact revealed to be a pet snake of another Aldwyck resident which had escaped.
“Tenant safety and security is of paramount importance to Aldwyck Housing Group for any matter arising.
“Our Housing Officer inspected the snake owner’s property and all pets have now been removed. The snake owner’s mother now has the snake. No animals were harmed in the removal process.”