Litter picker makes horror find after seeing something alive in dumped pillows
A volunteer litter picker was horrified to discover four live pythons stuffed inside pillowcases and dumped by the side of the road.
Maria Clutterbuck, 54, picks up litter every day in her hometown of Hucclecote in Gloucester, and so has more than likely come across her fair share of bizarre items.
But while collecting rubbish from the pavements on Chosen Way on Good Friday (April 7), she spotted what she initially thought were two bags of sand – before realising they were something much more sinister.
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"I realised they were cable-tied pillowcases and I think then my gut instinct knew something alive was inside," she said.
"My first thought was that the bags might contain puppies or kittens.
"But I had a feel of the curves and it felt like snakeskin."
Maria gave one of the pillowcases a nudge with her foot and it moved in response, prompting her to let out a "squeal".
Rather than investigate the contents of the pillowcases herself, she decided instead to call a local reptile shop, and when they didn't respond, she tried the police.
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"I was 99% sure they were snakes – and when the police arrived and opened them up, I was right," she added.
Officers arrived at the scene and cut open the zip ties holding the pillowcases together, discovering two adult royal pythons per bag were hiding inside.
Maria added: "The police came very quickly, I think they had been doubting if they were snakes.
"But one of the police offers cut them open, and when she saw, she squealed as well."
A friend of Maria's, who lived nearby, checked her dashcam footage and the snakes had been on the road since at least 3pm that day before Maria discovered them at around 9pm.
The pythons were described as "docile" as the cold-blooded reptiles had been left in the cold for around 6 hours. due to being cold-blooded and exposed to the cold for so long.
"They would not have survived the night," Maria added. "It was four degrees when I found them.
"It got down to freezing that night too – they would not have survived the temperatures."
Maria reckons the pythons were likely left by an owner who could no longer keep up with the costs of owning the large pets.
"Ultimately they are pets and of a considerable size, someone must have had them a long time," she added.
"What goes through your mind dumping them on a side street knowing they could just die?"
Pythons are among the largest non-venomous snakes in the world and are typically around 3-4.5ft in length, with female pythons usually slightly longer than males, according to reptilia.org.
However, some larger ones can grow up to 6ft.
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