Page last updated at 12:19 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 13:19 UK

Exotic snake found at beauty spot

One of the centre's owner, Lynda Bridges with the Florida Kingsnake
The Florida kingsnake is not venomous but can be aggressive

A Florida kingsnake has been discovered at a Hampshire beauty spot.

It is understood the 5ft (1.5m) serpent, which is yellow and brown, was found by a vigilant ranger in the New Forest over the weekend.

The American reptile is now being looked after at Liberty's Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre in Ringwood.

Linda Bridges, one of the centre's owners, said: "It is not venomous but it can be aggressive." She is keen for the owner to contact the centre.

Snake eater

Ms Bridges hopes the creature escaped from someone's vivarium - an enclosed area for keeping and raising animals - and was not abandoned.

She added: "It is a snake eater and is an enemy of the rattle snake.

"If it has been released into our native New Forest it would be eating our own adders and grass snakes, which are in decline themselves.

"If cornered in any way or surprised, it would bite you first."



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