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  • Writer's pictureRae Gellel

Garter Snake Found in Eltham Garden

A recent unusual case that required some help from our friends at South East London Reptile Rescue to resolve.

Yesterday, we were alerted to a post on a local Facebook community group about a snake in a garden in Eltham.

Although we do have three species of wild snakes that occur in the UK, they are a rare sight in London and the one pictured in the post did not appear to be any of the species native to our shores. Since we do not regularly deal with wild reptiles and often transfer them to other centres specialising in their care, we sent the picture out to some reptile experts to get a definitive ID of the species.

All responded that the snake was, as suspected, a non-native, domestic species, most likely a garter snake, and possibly an escaped pet who's odds of survival in the wild were slim.

Sadly the author of that particular post did not reply to our offer to collect the snake. However, this afternoon we received yet another report of an "adder" found in a garden in Eltham by a member of the public. It was of course, our garter snake making a reappearance, apparently travelling between gardens in Eltham.

Thankfully, our brilliant volunteer Debbie has previously owned snakes and was happy to collect the stunning reptile. He was then transported to Clare, who runs South East London Reptile Rescue, and who will foster him for a few days before he is transferred to the National Centre for Reptile Welfare. They too, have confirmed that he is indeed a garter snake.

Interestingly, there are sporadic reports of escaped or abandoned garter snakes, which are a species native to North America, successfully surviving in the wild in the UK, and possibly even breeding.

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