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article imageMystery of 16ft python found dead in British canal

By James Walker     Mar 4, 2015 in Odd News
A 16ft-long reticulated python has been found floating in a canal in Lancashire, England, leading to a police appeal for information on how the dangerous animal came to be in the water.
The snake was found on Sunday by walkers close to Norden Bridge in Rishton, Lancashire. Believed to have been between 12 to 15 years old, it could have been loose in the wild for several days before its death.
One of the biggest snake species in the world, the general consensus is that it was probably dumped by an owner after outgrowing its home. Many people end up unprepared for how large a snake can grow to.
An adult reticulated python can grow to as much as 23 feet long in its native Asian environment. Because of this, people are discouraged from buying them. Local area councillor Ken Moss said: Councillor Ken Moss said: "The general consensus is it has gotten too big for somebody and they have dumped it in the canal."
The non-venomous snake showed signs of respiratory disease which could have contributed to its death. A reptile expert who attended the scene measured the python as over 16ft 5in long.
Pythons kill their pray by constricting and asphyxiating their pray. They normally feed on small mammals, rodents and birds but would be strong enough to attack and injure larger animals including cats, dogs and people.
Ribble Valley Wildlife Crime Officer Carl Chew appealed for information on the find, saying: "Experts believe that a python of this size could have been capable of attacking a person so it is fortunate that no-one came to any serious harm. There are specific offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and Animal Welfare Act in relation to releasing a python and we would urge anyone with any information as to where the python came from to contact us."
It is not known whether the snake was drowned in the canal or was dumped after death. It could not have survived for long in the cold temperatures of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and would have certainly died within a day if drowned in the water.
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