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A grandmother released a huge python into the wild after she couldn’t get through to the RSPCA on the phone on a Sunday, and ‘set it free’ thinking it was a harmless corn snake.
Jill Mytton, 69, swept the huge African Royal Python into a plastic bag with a broom after looking it up on the internet when she couldn’t get through to the animal charity or the council.
She released the rat-eating creature, which can grow up to six feet in length, into the wild near her home in Beckenham, South East London.
The RPSCA belatedly got in touch when one of her calls for help was retweeted, and they realised a Royal Python was on the loose.
Jill, a retired therapist, said that she got a call from a woman who rented out rooms in her house, saying there was a two and a half foot snake on her floor: ‘When I first got the call I wasn’t that pleased because it was Sunday morning,’ she says.
‘I thought she was over exaggerating and it was just a big worm or something, I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.’
She added: ‘In hindsight I realise I probably did the wrong thing by letting it go, but I couldn’t get through to anyone for help and I didn’t know what to do.
‘I can’t remember what website I looked at but it said the best thing to do is to release it in wooded area so that’s what I did.’
Jill, who now volunteers as an independent researcher, had tweeted a picture of the snake when she first saw it at around 8am on Sunday.
Her call for help was retweeted and it was seen by the RSPCA who got in touch and were taken to the snake.
They confirmed it was a Royal Python – which are not dangerous to humans – and said it would not survive in the cold.
The society said Ms Mytton had pressed the wrong button when she tried to phone them which was why she failed to reach a member of staff.
A spokesman said: ‘We advise anyone who comes across a snake they suspect may be venomous, to keep a distance and contact us on 03001234 999 with a location of where the snake is.
‘In this instance, we were contacted via an outside source and contacted the person who found the snake after it had been released into the woods.
‘We met with the caller, and managed to find the snake which we can confirm is a Royal Python, most likely an escaped pet.
‘The snake is now in RSPCA care while we search for the owner. If no owner can be found, he will be rehomed.’