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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2006, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
Milk snake hiding in shop's door
Milk snake
Milk snakes are constrictors which can grow up to 7ft in length
An escaped snake caused mayhem at a grocery store in Swansea when it became trapped within a metal door.

The non-venomous snake was striking out at customers at the Costcutter in the city's Townhill area over the weekend.

A local snake expert and his wife had to be called to extricate the 3.5ft milk snake.

Geraint "the Snakeman" Hopkins and his wife Yolande had to remove the letterbox to recover the snake, which later died from injury and illness.

Mr Hopkins told BBC Radio Wales: "It was not far away from the shop and had got there. It had got in under the door.

"The people in the shop had a fright and prodded him and he went into the door.

"It was inside an aluminium door. It had a bit of a problem and I think it got injured. It was striking at customers apparently."

I think it wasn't eating and it would have died anyway but it also had a damaged spine
Geraint "the Snakeman" Hopkins

The couple had some difficulty getting to the snake, a problem solved in the end by Mrs Hopkins.

"My wife took the letterbox off and tapped and the snake came out. He could have been in there for months," Mr Hopkins said.

He is locally known as a snake expert and is called out hundreds of times a year to rescue snakes which escape from their proper homes.

The couple took the snake home with them to care for it until the owner could be found, but the snake died a few days later.

Mr Hopkins added: "In hindsight, looking at it, it obviously had mouth rot. I think it wasn't eating and it would have died anyway but it also had a damaged spine.

"I think people had prodded and poked it."

Hear how the trapped milk snake was rescued

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