In Brief

Six-foot boa constrictor ‘on the loose’ in Essex nature reserve

Owners of small dogs warned to keep their pets on leads in Norsey Wood

Owners of small dogs have been warned to keep their pets on a lead after a 6ft boa constrictor was spotted in an Essex wood.

Basildon Council has reportedly put up posters around the Norsey Wood nature reserve, near Billericay, that show a picture of the predatory snake, ITV News reports.

“It is apparently not a danger to humans, but it would probably be a good idea to keep small dogs on a lead,” the poster reads.

However, Daniel Hepplewhite, a reptile expert from nearby Snakes Alive Reptile House, said dog owners probably needn’t worry.

“It will be more interested in squirrels,” he said. “It’s an arboreal species, so it’s probably up a tree.”

Hepplewhite said the snake has “not been sighted for three weeks but could survive in the British climate until the winter”.

He added: “A lady phoned up a few weeks ago saying she saw a snake heading into the woods.

“She sent a picture, which is the picture on the poster.”

The snake is thought to be a pet that has either escaped or been illegally released, Sky News says.

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