Deadly eight-foot snakes that can kill cats and dogs invade London

Rex Features

A colony of eight-foot Aesculapian snakes that can squeeze a small child to death has been living in Regent's Canal in London.

While the snakes are not venomous, they are powerful enough to kill a cat or dog.

The Independent reports that the snakes have been spotted up trees, on rooftops and climbing up drains in North London over the past few weeks.

They are believed to originate from central Europe but their ancestors may have escaped from London Zoo several years ago.

Mum-of-three Sylvia Taylor, 33, told the Daily Star: "If they are capable of killing small animals then surely they could constrict small children?"

According to the Daily Mail, the animals face a possible cull after the London Invasive Species Initiative, marked them as a 'non-native species of high concern'.

Dr Wolfgang Wuster of Bangor University said: "Any attempt to eradicate the Aesculapian snake would require justification of resources to be devoted to an almost certainly non-problematic introduced species with little prospects of spread, as opposed to the many far more damaging species already out there.

"From a wider and more philosophical point of view, we should ask ourselves what we can really conserve."

Aesculapian snakes are among the largest snakes in Europe and juveniles can easily be confused with grass snakes. A colony of the snakes has lived peacefully in North Wales for decades after escaping from the Welsh Mountain Zoo.

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Deadly eight-foot snakes that can kill cats and dogs invade London

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World's deadliest animals
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Deadly eight-foot snakes that can kill cats and dogs invade London

Although they might look cumbersome and cute, hippos are actually one of the most feared animals in Africa, and can outrun a human. When a male feels its territory is threatened, or a female thinks her offspring her in danger, these animals can be particularly dangerous. And with huge teeth and mouth that can open four feet wide, it's a good idea to steer clear.
Kills: An estimated 100-150 people a year.
Deadly technique: Hippos will charge, trample and gore its victims, and have been known to upturn boats and canoes without warning.
Lives in: Africa

Many people might not realise that the cape buffalo is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa, and will react with force when it feels threatened. These beasts can weigh up to 1.5 tons and stand at 1.7 metres high; they're so intimidating that even lions don't usually consider them dinner. Cape buffalos will charge, and then gore its victim to death with its impressive horns.
Kills: An estimated 200 people a year.
Deadly technique: These animals will charge and gore their victims to death with their huge horns.
Lives in: Africa

Out of the world's 2,000 species of snake, around 250 are thought to be capable of killing a man. The Asian cobra does not have the deadliest venom, but is believed to be responsible for the biggest portion of the thousands of snakebite deaths every year. In Africa, the black mamba is the largest venomous snake and, during an attack, can strike up to 12 times, each time delivering enough neuro and cardio-toxic venom to kill a dozen men within 1 hour.
Kills: An estimated 50-125,000 people a year.
Deadly technique: A snake will use its fangs to pierce the skin and inject its paralysing venom.
Lives in: Africa, Asia, Australia, North America

Box jellyfish can have up to 60 tentacles as long as 15 feet. And each tentacle contains enough venom to kill 50 humans, making it one of the most venomous marine creatures in the world. If stung, a box jellyfish can kill a man within minutes.
Kills: An estimated 100 people a year.
Deadly technique: Jellyfish use their tentacles to pump venom and paralyse its prey. Deaths in humans are usually a result of cardiac arrest.
Lives in: Northern Australia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Apart from humans, the mosquito is the deadliest creature on the planet. It kills millions of people every year through the spread of diseases like malaria, yellow fever, and dengue fever. Many of the malaria victims are children under the age of five.
Kills: Two to three million people a year.
Deadly technique: Female mosquitos pierce the skin with serrated mouth parts, and inject a saliva with a thinning agent to liquidise the blood.
Lives in: Worldwide, more harmful in Africa, Asia and North America

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Kills: An estimated 100 people a year.
Deadly technique: Sharks use their razor-sharp teeth to rip chunks out of its victims. Great whites usually take a big single bite, drag their victims into deeper waters, and wait until the prey bleeds to death before they eat it.
Lives in: Florida, Australia, Hawaii and South Africa.

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Kills: An estimated 5 to 10 people a year.
Deadly technique: Bear will use their teeth and claws to maul and trample their victims.
Lives in: North America, Canada, North Pole, and Russia.

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Kills: An estimated 600-800 people a year.
Deadly technique: Crocodiles will grab their victims with terrifying speed, and often launch into a 'death roll', weakening its prey, dragging it under water and drowning the victim.
Lives in: Africa and Australia

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Kills: An estimated 800-2,000 people a year.
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Lives in: Worldwide; particularly Africa, the Americas and Central Asia.

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Kills: An estimated 300-500 people a year.
Deadly technique: Most human deaths are result of the elephant trampling on its victim.
Lives in: Africa and India

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Kills: An estimated 800 people a year.
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Lives in: Africa, North America, and India


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