The serpent was found near the Orwell Bridge in Ipswich (Wessex News Agency)
A walker leapt back after stumbling on an 8ft long jungle serpent on a river bank.
The python was dead and is believed to have been cruelly dumped in the river near the Orwell Bridge in Ipswich by someone who no longer wanted it.
There were no injuries but there was a plastic sack in which it may have been placed, condemned to slowly die from the freezing cold.
The RSPCA said pets are increasingly being dumped as owners can’t afford their food and heating costs during the pandemic, with many people losing their jobs and finding it hard to make ends meet.
The charity said the snake appeared to have been washed up on the river bank close to the bridge which carries the A14 over the River Orwell.
A spokesman said: ‘The body of an 8ft long python was found by a member of the public on Monday, December 7, alongside a black plastic bag and a pair of gloves.
‘The circumstances surrounding the snake’s death are not yet known.’
The snake may have frozen to death (Wessex)
Local RSPCA inspector Jason Finch, who collected the python, said it was unlikely the snake was an escapee.
He added: ‘I could not see any obvious health issues or injuries which may have resulted in this snake’s death.
‘At this stage we do not know if the snake was dead when it was dumped at this location or if it had been abandoned and perished in the elements.
He said: ‘Unfortunately, this sort of thing isn’t unusual and we receive thousands of calls a year relating to reptiles, like snakes and lizards, many of which have been abandoned by their owners.
‘Snakes often end up in our care when owners realise the commitment that is involved in meeting their needs and keeping them healthy.
‘This is why we’re always saying that people should do their research before taking on a pet.’
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