Hunt for escaped Burnley boa constrictor

ON THE LOOSE: Legless at home in Burnley (S)
ON THE LOOSE: Legless at home in Burnley (S)

An escaped boa constrictor from Burnley is on the loose in Harrogate.

The appropriately named “Legless” is a four-year-old 6ft. snake from Padiham Road, whose owner Debbie Hodgson believes may have hitched a ride on a neighbour’s car to Yorkshire.

OWNER: Legless the boa constrictor owner Debbie Hodgson (S)

OWNER: Legless the boa constrictor owner Debbie Hodgson (S)

Legless was spotted in grassland by a walker at Swinsty Reservoir on June 16th, but despite searches by Debbie and her family has still not been found.

Debbie (31) said: “I have had Legless since he was a few weeks old, but I have been keeping snakes since I was 14. I feed him on rats around every four weeks. He last ate a fortnight ago.

“Legless stays in a vivarium at my house but he escaped when I let him out for some exercise. They are likely to go for warm places, so if an engine was running he could have climbed in there.

“We have found snake droppings in the area he was spotted, so he hasn’t moved far. Locals have rang to say they will keep their eyes out.”

Otley couple Edward Ryder and Alex Burns were the first to spot Legless. “I spotted what looked like a big fat sausage in the middle of the path,” Edward said. “It dawned on me it was a snake and that it was still moving. It was watching us.

“I wont be in a hurry to come across it again. I’m not fond of snakes at all, I didn’t even like my grandma’s snake draught excluder.”

Boa constrictors can grow to 13ft. and feed off small mammals such as rats, rabbits or birds. They are ambush predators and as such will often lie in wait for prey to come along at which point they attack before swallowing their prey whole.

Yorkshire Water is urging visitors to exercise caution and keep dogs on a lead until the snake is found.

But Debbie said Legless is not big enough to attack a dog, although he could easily survive off rats in the summer.

“I’m going back on Saturday. I just hope we can find him,” she added.