Monday, October 24, 2016

Woman bitten by snake on residential street thinks it was attracted to chicken in her bag

A snake has bitten a Worcester woman - lurking in the bushes before dashing out and sinking its teeth into her leg. People in the city are now being warned about a slippery serpent after the nasty incident which left the victim “totally shocked”. Patricia Bullock, 57, was walking down Lansdowne Crescent last Sunday from the city centre when it happened. The terrifying reptile appeared from nowhere and bit her on the calf, leaving her suffering from shock and flu like symptoms since.

Environmental health experts are warning that the snake may be an “exotic pet” which has escaped from someone’s house, and believe it to be still-at-large. The mother-of-two said: “It was around 3pm and I had just been into town, I was walking back past some hedgerows. It was brown coloured and very quick, I caught it from my side view and it just lashed out at me. It bit me on the side of the calf and it really hurt, I felt a burning sensation like my leg was on fire. It bit me and then it was gone - I was absolutely shocked.”

After getting advice from a pharmacy and seeing her doctor, who asked her to contact the RSPCA, she says she is better now but wants people to beware. At the time she was carrying a chicken back home after shopping for food, and believes the snake may have smelt it. “I’ve had flu-like symptoms but imagine if this was a child it had bit,” she said. “Along this path I see so many old people, so many pets being taken on walks, dogs are around here, it is very busy.” Nigel Hands, a snake expert, said he would not want people to start looking for it. “In the middle of a residential area it’s unlikely to have been an adder, it’s more likely an escaped ‘exotic pet’,” he said.

“In urban areas occasionally grass snakes turn up in gardens, but adders are very choosy about their locations. I think someone may well have lost a pet but snakes aren’t out to hurt people, it was most likely frightened.” There are three types of snake in the UK, the most common being adders, and the last person to die from a bite was back in 1975. They are extremely rare in urban areas but the Malvern Hills is thought to have anything between 50 and 100 of them, with the reptiles going out of their way to avoid humans. Mark Cox, from Worcestershire Regulatory Services, said: “We licence people who keep dangerous and wild animals and don’t know of anyone who was lost a pet, if they did, they would lose their licence.”

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