A dog walker was shocked to come across one of Europe’s longest snakes in Central London.
Chris Kutler was walking along the Regents Canal Towpath on Thursday (July 20) with his pet when he noticed something in the grass.
The 59-year-old was left shocked after he realised it was a dark grey snake and feared the Aesculapian snake, a type of rat snake, had “escaped from the zoo”.
Chris said the creature measured more than one metre, adding: “The dog stopped to look at something and I thought ‘what’s that’ – and it was a snake.
“I thought it might be an adder or grass snake, but it was much too big for that. I realised I was next to the zoo and thought maybe it’s escaped from the zoo.”
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He rang one of his friends to help identify it and was relieved to learn it is not venomous.
He continued: “I was quite mesmerised by it but didn’t know if it was poisonous.
“So I called a friend who knows about this kind of thing who said he thought it was a rat snake.”
One passer-by contacted London zoo on Twitter and asked: “Any chance of you have missing a snake? There is one on the side of the canal, north walkway, and people are stopping to have a look.”
London Zoo confirmed the rat snake did not escape from the zoo.
There are three colonies of the snake located within the UK – two in Wales and one on the banks of Regents Canal.