2018-08-09 19:56:48 UTC
A boa constrictor wrapped itself around what many believed to be a dead
pigeon and began to eat the bird in the middle of a busy sidewalk in London
Saturday morning as a horrified crowd gathered around to watch.
A 15-second video of the unusual display shows the snake swallowing the
pigeon whole along High Road. London resident Rachel Garland, 29, took the
video as the pigeon was already halfway inside the snake's mouth.
"I wasn't scared because it was moving so slowly and it was completely
wrapped up in its pigeon. It was just trying to eat the pigeon, it wasn't
taking any notice of all the people," Garland described to BBC News.
Dave Fawbert was also walking along the sidewalk when the sight of the snake
stopped him in his tracks. He paused to snap a picture.
"Just a python eating a pigeon on Leytonstone High Road," Fawbert, who
initially thought the snake was a python, shared on Twitter Saturday. The
image has gone viral, garnering more than 6,500 retweets as of Monday
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) was
called to the scene and safely removed the reptile from the sidewalk.
"[It appeared] someone had found a dead pigeon and then given it to the
snake," an RSPCA spokesperson told BBC News. It's unclear how the snake made
its way to the pavement, but the charity believes it may be somebody's pet.
RSPCA inspector Rebecca Bedson told the Evening Standard a bystander had
already placed the boa constrictor inside a box when she responded to the
call. She said the incident is currently under investigation.
"I'm very keen to find out how he came to be in such a dangerous situation.
Exposed like that on a street could have meant anything might have happened
to him, he could have been run over by a car or attacked by another animal,"
Bedson told the newspaper.
Investigators will care for the snake over the next few days as they await
its owner to come forward. If no one responds, then the snake will be placed
in a new home.
Boa constrictors are nonvenomous snakes that can weigh more than 100 pounds
and reach more than 13 feet in length. The largest ever measured was about
18 feet, according to National Geographic. Boas, which hail from Central and
South America, use their large bodies to suffocate their prey before
feasting on them.