RSPCA animal welfare officer Ron Crawford rushed to the scene of a cobra sighting following a report by a member of the public that a snake that had been left on top of a wheelie bin.
The concerned resident, who called the RSPCA to the sighting in Shildon, in County Durham, on Wednesday December 11, had managed to contain what they thought was a potentially deadly reptile in a plastic tub before Ron arrived.
But what they had actually snared was a rubber toy.
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Ron said: “The caller had managed to secure it in a plastic tub before calling us for help describing it as a brown snake that had been abandoned.
“Unfortunately, we are called out to a lot of snakes that have been abandoned - often by owners who have taken them on without realising how much of a commitment they are and without understanding the specialist care they need.
“However, once I arrived at the scene I quickly realised this wasn’t your usual snake abandonment - and the snake in question was in fact a toy!
“The caller was lucky it was rubber and not real - cobra can be extremely dangerous.”
The RSPCA advise people to treat any unidentified animal with caution until identified accurately and not to try to handle one if you’re not clear of its species or whether it could be dangerous.