A five-foot tropical snake has been abandoned on a public footpath in Worcester.

The dead reptile was found along with an enclosure, known as a vivarium, by a passer-by who immediately alerted the RSPCA.

Believed to be a boa constrictor or species of python, the snake was discovered already decomposing in a small wooded area at the bottom of Trent Close, Ronkswood on Saturday (January 8).

Animal experts say it was at least five foot long and was partially hanging out of a damaged enclosure when spotted by the startled rambler.

The animal welfare charity has now issued an appeal for information and says it is investigating the incident.

RSPCA inspector Thea Kerrison said: "By the look and smell of this poor snake, I would say the poor thing is likely to have been dead before being dumped.

"The snake had been left in a very prominent place on the footpath, so if still alive would easily have been spotted.

Worcester News: The snake was found hanging out of its vivarium by a startled passer by.The snake was found hanging out of its vivarium by a startled passer by.

"The vivarium was far too small for a snake of this size and I’m very concerned that this reptile has received wholly inadequate care.

"We would urge people who are thinking of taking on an exotic animal to do thorough research, using expert sources, so they know what is involved and how long the commitment is likely to be for.

"For example, the species of snake we most commonly see kept as pets can live for over 20 years."

Enquiries have been made locally and the RSPCA is appealing to anyone with information about the snake to contact its inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018

The animal welfare charity encourages people to read books written by experts on the particular species they wish to keep, to join member societies where there are experienced keepers who can help if you are struggling and to look for specialist vets who are an excellent source of support and advice for owners.

Reptiles may look resilient and tough on the outside but they are actually completely reliant on their owners to provide the correct environment for the species, including heating and lighting and an appropriate diet - all of which are essential to keep them healthy. 

Without proper care they become ill or suffer and - in severe cases or if left untreated - they can die.

It is not always easy for an owner to tell when they are ill, fearful or suffering and by the time they are taken to a vet, if at all, it can be too late. 

People who are struggling to meet their animal’s needs are urged to ask for help, rather than abandoning them.

For more information and advice on caring for snakes and other exotics, please visit the RSPCA’s website: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/other.