A family who have spent the last six months living in fear in their front room because of a missing snake believe the beast may still be lurking underneath the floorboards. The Hebdens, of Manadon in Plymouth, Devon, have been sleeping on camp beds in their front room ever since Bear, the family dog, was viciously attacked by a snake in June last year. Mother Jackie, who shares the floor space with her husband, daughter, two sons, their partners and their two dogs, believes the snake may have gone into hibernation and says she still struggles to sleep at night in fear of another attack.
The serpent, which is thought to be an escaped pet, was last spotted slithering into a hole in the floorboards shortly after biting the dog.
"I just wish it would come out and bite me so I can prove it actually exists," she said.
"After the attack, we decided to move into the front room - all seven of us. We went out and bought camp beds to sleep on. It is quite cramped but it's the only room we thought was totally safe.
I have a cousin who lives in Australia and he thinks the snake will be hibernating now.
But the dog keeps going straight back to the airing cupboard upstairs, which is where he was bitten. It's strange - I think it must be able to sense it.
"I'm worried that, once it wakes up from hibernation, it's going to come out searching for food."
Described by Jackie's eldest son, Clint, as "green and yellow, with a white tip", the snake is believed to be a non-venomous Kingsnake.
It has not been seen, however, since biting Jackie's dog - despite the family's best efforts to locate the snake.
Even a joint raid on the house in July by Plymouth Community Homes (PCH), an exotic animal specialist from the RSPCA and a carpenter failed to yield any results.
Jackie added: "It's been a total nightmare. I'm so nervous it might strike at any minute. I've had to keep my dogs in the kitchen, just to be safe.
"I can't afford for the dogs to get bitten again. It cost me almost £500 in vet bills last time."
Steve Ford, who is head of neighbourhoods at PCH, said he has offered to conduct a "complete" search of the house, which would include ripping up the Jackie's floorboards, but claims this was refused by the Hebdens.
He added: "There has been no evidence of a snake in Ms Hebden's home.
We have taken specialist advice from both the RSPCA and other exotic animal experts on how to entice an escaped pet snake out of hiding – we have acted fully on that advice, but no snake was found.
We have offered Ms Hebden support throughout, and that is still our position – we are here to help."