DSC_0436RSPCA Cymru has issued a reminder about the challenges involved in looking after exotic pets, after the animal welfare charity rescued a snake that a member of the public found in Pontyclun.

The Honduran milk snake – who has been nicknamed Carlos – was found on a driveway on 13 March. The snake was then transferred to a local veterinary practice by the helpful member of the public.

Anyone with information as to why the snake was found alone in Pontyclun is urged to contact the charity’s inspectorate appeal line. This can be reached on 0300 123 8018, with all calls treated in confidence.

The charity regularly deal with incidents concerning abandoned or escaped exotic pets, and says it is “vital” that owners understand what is involved in providing them with appropriate care.

RSPCA Cymru collected the milk snake, who has now been transferred to a specialist facility – the Proteus Reptile Trust – in Dudley, in the West Midlands. Healed grazes and cuts are evident across the body of the snake, indicating that the animal may have been on the loose for some while before being discovered.

The snake’s rehabilitation is on-going, and staff at the Proteus Reptile Trust are confident he will make a full recovery and be made available for rehoming in the near future.

Elaine Spence, RSPCA chief inspector for south east Wales, said: “I shudder to think what could have happened to the poor animal had a member of the public not found the snake. Anybody with any information should contact the RSPCA’s inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018, with all calls treated in confidence.”

Nicola White, RSPCA senior scientific officer for exotics and trade, added: “Exotic pets – like snakes – can be very challenging to look after, and have complex needs.

“Sadly, the RSPCA often deal with incidents concerning abandoned or escaped exotics. It’s vital people understand what they will need to do to meet the animal’s complex needs, and that accommodation is always appropriate and secure.”

Amy Taranaski, from Proteus Reptile Trust, said: “Carlos has been doing well, and fed for the first time this week since coming into our care. We suspect poor Carlos may have been on the loose for some time as there are numerous old injury marks on his body – such as grazes and cuts – which have healed.

“His rehabilitation is continuing in our care, and we’re confident that – if he continues to eat consistently and put on weight – he will make a full recovery and be available for rehoming in the next four or five weeks.”

Reptiles appear to have increased in popularity as pets and the number of related incidents dealt with by the RSPCA has gone up in recent years. They are completely reliant on their owners to provide the correct environment for the species, including heating and lighting. RSPCA Cymru urges potential new owners to research and look into what is required in the care of their pet before taking one on, so they know what is involved and how long it is likely to be for.

Anyone who would like further information on how to care for exotic animals such as reptiles should visit the dedicated exotics section on the RSPCA website. Should you wish to help the RSPCA look into incidents such as these, you can donate online. The RSPCA is a charity and relies on donations from the public to exist.